WE LOSE OUR GENERAL AND OUR LEADER
BUT HIS MEMORY WILL LIVE ON
REST IN PEACE, SIR
BRIG. GEN. PETER E. GENOVESE Jr. USAR (Ret)
1938 – 2002

By MAJ GLENN MacDONALD, USAR (Ret)

©2002 MilitaryCorruption.com

This is the story I hoped I wouldn’t have to write.

But our beloved general, our leader in the fight for truth and honor, is dead.

Brig. Gen. Peter E. Genovese Jr., Chairman of the Board of MilitaryCorruption.com, devoted husband and father, and a man who inspired his troops and personified the highest degree of integrity, has gone to his heavenly rest after a courageous battle against leukemia.

All of us here want to publicly, as we have done privately, express our heartfelt sympathy to the general’s family whom he loved so much. To his loyal wife of 44 years, Marge, who gave him such tender care during this last illness; to his sons, Peter, Jeffrey and Keith; and to his beautiful young daughter Tami, expecting her first child in a matter of weeks, we know you will cherish the memory of this very great man.

Without the general’s support, enthusiasm and encouragement, there would be no MilitaryCorruption.com today. It was Gen. Peter Genovese’s example of honor above all else that sustained and inspired those of us here on the “firing line,” so-to-speak, to continue the long, lonely battle “FIGHTING FOR THE TRUTH” and “EXPOSING THE CORRUPT.”

Having had the privilege of serving under the general’s command, I can only thank God I knew this man, who treated me like another son.

From the time I enlisted as a private to go fight in Vietnam, until my retirement as a field grade officer 33 years later, I never saw a general who made me so proud to serve with him in the United States Army.

There are many memories I have of Gen. Genovese in the more than two decades I knew him. I want to share some of them with our military readers here in CONUS and around the world.

One time at Fort Drum, New York, when the general - affectionately known by the troops as “Pistol Pete” for his pearl-handled revolvers - visited tankers from the New Jersey National Guard’s famed 50th Armored Division during their annual training, he didn’t do the usual “dog and pony show” some generals engage in.

You know the routine: “Where you from, son? How’s the chow, trooper? Keep up the good work, sergeant.” Said with all the sincerity of a robot. Today’s soldiers aren’t fooled by phony displays of “concern.” They know the score.

Unlike some other general officers, this one-star had the gift of being able to inspire and lead his men. That was proven one day as I watched this armor-branch general get his boots “muddy” and climb up on a tank and then fire on the range. There wasn’t one nut or bolt of that tank, that Gen. Genovese didn’t know about.

When the general had arrived at the tank firing range, I remember hearing a spontaneous “cheer” go up from the men. They crowded around him in a circle, smiles on their faces, respect in their eyes. They knew in their hearts he genuinely cared for them and would look out for their well-being. They weren’t “props” for some photo-opportunity. They were his troops, and he was their leader.

Such open displays of affection and respect towards Gen. Genovese drove lesser “generals” wild with envy. They would, in time, plot to bring him down and have their revenge.

Such a bittersweet memory now comes to mind.

Years ago, as a brigadier general and deputy to a two-star – the then- adjutant general of the New Jersey National Guard – Gen. Genovese did what a good subordinate officer should do. He informed his boss he had discovered corruption and mismanagement within the Guard and he wanted permission to “root it out.”

Gen. Genovese would have been better off to take his findings quietly to the governor’s office, in order to ensure that something would be actually done to correct the situation.

But Gen. Genovese could not bring himself to go outside the chain-of-command. Even though he had reason not to trust the little fat man sitting behind the desk in front of him, he respected the man’s rank and hoped the TAG (what we will call this general from here on out) would share his concern about what was going on.

He didn’t. Instead of thanking Gen. Genovese for his loyalty and discretion, the TAG plotted to punish his deputy and end his career.

Nicknamed behind his back, “The Pillsbury dough man,” even by the coterie of sycophants he kept at his beck and call, the TAG was the exact opposite of Gen. Genovese.

Where the brigadier general was tall, handsome, broad-shouldered and looked every inch a flag officer, the TAG was short, obese, with three chins and pudgy little fingers that curled in rage when he grew upset. “Chomping” on a long, unlit cigar (apparently trying to emulate a REAL general, Curtis LeMay) the TAG looked like some fat, little South American dictator, his reptilian eyes squinting in hatred and envy.

While Gen. Genovese exhibited leadership and earned the love and respect of the troops, the TAG could only “rule by fear” and rewarding his “cronies” with promotions as long as they helped him maintain absolute power. His cruelty and egomania knew no bounds.

“That man has the worst case of Napoleonic Complex I’ve ever seen", one medical officer confided in me. “But by God, I would never want to be on his enemy list. He'll cut you off at the knees.”

And that is what happened to Gen. Genovese. Relieved of his important duties, given a “make-work” job in a back office located near the mess hall in the basement of headquarters, the TAG’s effort to humiliate the general backfired.

The vast majority of the men and women in the Guard only grew more contemptuous of the “Pillsbury dough man.”

Even after his transfer to the U.S. Army Reserve and eventual retirement at one-star rank, Gen. Genovese refused to let bitterness or regret rule his heart.

A kind and generous man, only in private moments with his closest confidants, would the general speak in any anger about what had been done to him.

After word got around in recent months that Gen. Genovese was ill, his many, many friends – from fellow generals to former NCO’s and soldiers who had proudly served under his command - began to contact him and let him know how much he had meant to their lives and careers.

At one military function, when Gen. Genovese could still get around fairly well, a figure from the past came up to where he was sitting and suddenly threw his short, little arms around the general’s neck and planted a wet kiss on the flag officer’s cheek.

It was the TAG from long ago.

“Ugh! That was disgusting,” Gen. Genovese laughed when he told me about it. “Can you imagine that? After what he did to me, and then he comes up and slobbers on me like a Saint Bernard?”

“The kiss of Judas,” I told the general. “It was a Judas kiss. I just hope you wiped your cheek.”

“I sure did,” Gen. Genovese laughed. “Now I’ve seen everything.”