FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Joseph A. Brendler was recently promoted to Brigadier General in the Army, attributing much of his accomplishments to family and his hometown of Chazy.
Brendler, son of George and Janet Brendler of Chazy, lived in the town from 1965 to 1980, when he graduated from Chazy Central Rural School. From there, he continued on to Cornell University in Ithaca.
"I attended Cornell University on an ROTC scholarship," he explained. "So, I actually contracted with the Army in 1980. I started active duty after finishing my master's degree at Cornell in 1985."
Brendler then went on to Germany where he was stationed until 1990, and met his wife, Teresa Neville, now a former Army Captain.
"One of the highlights of our time over there was Teresa and I got to go to Berlin a couple of times and right before we left Germany in late 1989, we actually got to hammer and chisel pieces of the Berlin Wall," explained Brendler. "We got to stand on top of the wall right in front of the famous Brandenburger Gate."
Throughout the years, Brendler had a variety of assignments and commands, including Directorate of Combat Developments in Fort Gordon, Ga., assistant professor of physics at the United States Military Academy in West Point, Secretary of the Combined/Joint Staff, Combined/Joint Task force-180 in Bagram, Afghanistan, and Commander, 123d Signal Battalion, and Division G6, 3rd Infantry Division in Fort Stewart, Ga., Kuwait, and Iraq. He now is the Director of Operations, J3, Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, in Arlington, Va.
On Dec. 6, a special ceremony was held in honor of Brendler as he was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General.
"I got a letter from the Vice Chief of Staff for the Army in mid-2010, acknowledging that I had in fact been accepted for promotion that, when I completed my current tour of joint service, the Army would recommend that the Secretary of Defense ask the President to nominate me," Brendler explained. "So, the actual nomination from the President was the first time I actually saw the official resolve in writing. That was in September of this year."
Brendler explained Brigadier General is an executive level in the Army.
"The Army considers Colonel's to be senior officers," he said. "But, numerically, it's a much smaller population that gets promoted to Brigadier General."
"It's a recognition based on the service that you've rendered so far for the potential for increase of responsibility," Brendler added.
Brendler considered the promotion ceremony a humbling experience, but felt the ceremony was truly for his family.
"The reality is that the real beneficiaries of the ceremony are the immediate family members of the officer being promoted," he explained. "As an institution, we really want to reinforce for the audience as strongly as for the immediate family, that we really appreciate everything that our families do."
During his remarks, Brendler thanked his parents for all his life's achievements.
"It's been possible because of the values and character they were able to instill in me as a child," he said. "But, this is something which I really firmly believe extends to the entire community that I grew up in the small town of Chazy, New York. It was a fantastic place to grow up as a kid. You have role models of all sorts."
Some of those Brendler considered role models were those people who still work the small family farms with strong work ethics. He added he is also impressed by the people at CCRS for their values.
"The children of some of my teachers are now teaching at the same school," he said. "The children of some of the guys that I played soccer with are on the team now. It's a great community. I think it had a great deal to do with whatever successes I've been able to achieve."