When did you join the Army? Upon graduation from high school. Like many young people, I did not have any specific future plans, so I enlisted in the Army as a private with the hopes of furthering my education and traveling the world. That was in 1976 and I was only 17 years old. Wow … almost 32 years later and I am still serving proudly as an American soldier, just a bit older and a little wiser.

What was it like joining the Army right after the Vietnam War? The Army of the ’70s lacked discipline, was ill-equipped and not properly trained. The conversion to an all-volunteer army in the late 1970s was a godsend and quickly transformed our Army into a quality force.

When did you become an officer? I completed my college degrees on active duty in the evenings and received my commission from OCS in 1982.

Did your time as an enlisted soldier help you make the transition? My enlisted time is clearly the foundation for my success as an officer … I have always been and will always be a ‘simple soldier’ and proud of my enlisted service.

What has been your most rewarding tour? My most enjoyable tour has been my many years as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division — that was a special organization.

You were married around the time you were 20. What advice do you give young servicemembers to deal with family stresses caused by their career? Cherish your moments together; take care of each other; love one another; enjoy each other; stay positive; sort out roles; set goals; focus on the future; manage expectations; grow with each other; learn to resolve conflict; express your love in thought, word and action; laugh a lot.

Tell us why pinning on your “star” was unique My son Kevin, currently serving in Iraq as a platoon leader with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was promoted to first lieutenant on the same day I was promoted to brigadier general. This brought proud tears to my eyes.

What kind of approach do you take toward your job?I believe in extreme loyalty, the kind that goes up and down the chain of command. I like to select talented people, place my total trust and confidence in them, and then let them do their jobs.

What kinds of music do you like?I have always enjoyed country music … Country music is proud of the red, white and blue. It is no coincidence that my favorite song is “American Soldier” by Toby Keith.

Do you have any hobbies?I am beginning to like golf. I like the outdoors, fishing, and swimming. I am probably the most active proponent and supporter of the new Camp Humphreys Water Park. It is a wonderful way for our soldiers and their families to spend their leisure time, and on many weekends you can find me out there relaxing as well.

What will you have taken from your service after you retire?I could write volumes. Military service is much more than a job; it is a commitment, a part of our basic values, a lifelong dedication, a patriotic way of life where one passionately loves, supports and defends the constitution of the United States.

Brig. Gen. Kurt J. SteinAge: 49Title: Assistant Chief of Staff, J4, U.S. Forces Korea and Deputy C4, Combined Forces KoreaDuty Station: Camp Humphreys

Pacific readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Call Paul Newell at Stars and Stripes with the person’s name and contact information at DSN 229-3158 or e-mail him at:

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