For Lt. Gen. Ed Daly, a person’s life centers on the “3-5-100” rule. He believes everyone has three defining moments, five key decisions and hundreds of influential people who will impact their life.
The Army Materiel Command Deputy Commanding General who also serves as Redstone Arsenal’s senior commander says his choice to attend West Point and join the Army was a key decision and defining moment.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” he said. “That road, the road less traveled, led me to attend the United States Military Academy, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. West Point gave me the opportunity to serve something bigger than myself and prepared me for my next 30-plus years of service in the Army.”
Daly, a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, and the son of a career police officer, was the first in his family to graduate from college. He attributes his father’s values and character with setting the foundation for his own work ethic and success.
“My father worked three jobs to put me through high school,” Daly said. “From him, I learned the importance of hard work, dedication and service to others.”
Daly started his military career, commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps, upon his graduation from West Point in 1987. From West Point, he arrived at the officer basic course in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he got off to a rocky start.
“The day I reported, it had snowed and the fort was closing early, but I was relentless and wanted to report to my unit, introduce myself to the battalion commander, and tell him that I was ready to be a platoon leader,” said Daly. “So I parked in the only parking space that wasn’t filled with snow and went into the headquarters. After waiting, the battalion commander walked in shaking snow from his uniform and yelling about someone parking in his space. That’s when I realized my career was over.”
Instead, Daly’s career progressed, with past assignments including serving as the commander of Army Sustainment Command, and chief of Ordnance and commandant of the U.S. Army Ordnance School. He commanded in combat and led Soldiers during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
When Daly pinned on his third star in August 2017, he was one of the first in his West Point graduating class to reach the rank.
“Every day, I am honored and grateful to continue wearing the uniform, and do my part to make even a small difference in the lives of our Soldiers and their Families,” he said.
Today, as Deputy Commanding General of Army Materiel Command, Daly enables the development and delivery of materiel readiness solutions around the world to ensure Soldiers have the equipment and supplies they need to win on the battlefield. In his dual role as Redstone Arsenal’s senior commander, he oversees base operations and Redstone’s strategic growth.
“Redstone has grown significantly, and we know there are more opportunities for growth in the future,” said Daly. “So I have to ask myself, are we doing everything we can to remain relevant and an installation of choice?”
That task is not his alone. Daly said that every senior leader on Redstone has a vested interest in the arsenal’s success. He works with Gen. Gus Perna, AMC Commanding General and the arsenal’s senior ranking officer, to look 10 to 15 years down the road and position Redstone strategically.
“It is a collaborative effort between every leader on this post,” said Daly. “Every day, more than 40,000 people come to work on the arsenal. They provide critical support to our national defense and our way of life. My priority is to make sure they have everything they need to accomplish their mission.”
Redstone is an Army installation that has grown into a Federal Center of Excellence with more than 70 organizations from the Army, NASA, Department of Defense, FBI and more.
“It’s rare that you find a partnership like the one between Redstone and the Tennessee Valley community. This community is the center of gravity for everything we do, and one of my goals is to build on that partnership every day,” he said.
Daly said potential opportunities include the north side of the arsenal, with Redstone Gateway and the proposed Exploration Park, which could make portions of Redstone easier to access for the public.
After 30 years, for Daly, the Army is a way of life.
“Being a part of a great team – the Army – has been unequivocally one of the greatest decisions of my life,” said Daly. “I have had the great privilege of serving with the best and brightest our nation has to offer, and to be a part of the noblest profession – the Profession of Arms.”
Contributed by Megan Gully, U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters
This article is published in the April 2019 issue of Initiatives magazine.