Interview: MG Lynn – Ft. Gordon, Georgia

Quincy Winder, Zia Johnson, Reporter, Intern

Interview with MG Lynn – Ft. Gordon, GA

Recently, Quincy Winder, Youth Challenge Graduate and Backpack Journalist, had an opportunity to sit and interview MG Alan Lynn, Commanding General of Fort Gordon, Georgia. What you are about to read is the transcript of the interview.

 Winder: So your father served in Vietnam, what were some things you learned from him being deployed?

Lynn: He was just my father, and he had this job that I really didn’t understand. What I really learned is when I did my first deployment to Desert Storm, my father who had multiple deployments, told me that this was the hardest thing ever for him!

Q: Today’s military use of technology is a lot different. We have many different ways to communicate such as cell phones and Internet. What ways did you stay in contact with your father?

Lynn:  During my father’s deployment, we didn’t even have Internet back then. We would talk “live” to him using a type of “ham radio network” (High Frequency radios).  It was phone to radio and then transmitted. I would talk to my father using all signs of radio speaking; so we would say “I LOVE YOU OVER” just like a walkie talkie. So that’s how we communicated with my father. If I didn’t have time to talk to my father, I would write letters to him. We would also send packages.

Q: What was your favorite package you received when you were deployed?

Lynn: My favorite package was home made cookies! Because we were eating M.R.E’s, so just anything different! They were chocolate chip cookies and my mom made them.

Q: I understand that you earned your bachelor’s degree in English. Backpack Journalist are training military youth, and we are helping them by expressing their feelings through writing.  How has your English degree aided you in your military career?

Lynn: Your ability to communicate in written form is critical in any career. What they teach you in journalism is to be succinct in your writing. Writing less has a big impact. If you can tell leadership and soldiers in a much shorter space, you will have a much bigger impact as a leader. We brought in English instructors to teach soldiers and junior leaders how to write.

Q: Is there any particular message you would like to send out to the audience at the AUSA meeting?

Lynn: For the Army Family Covenant, we need to put a spotlight on sacrifices of the family and make sure that we take care of our families as they are the strength of the Army!

Q: Can you explain a little bit about the Signal Corp?

Lynn: The Signal Corp is the communications company, worldwide for the US Army.  We are responsible for all communications. Fort Gordon is the home of the Signal Corp. We actually did movies about communications and won three Oscars in the 1940s. They were all documentaries.

Q: Have you had any special training for maintaining multiple projects? How did you organize yourself to be able to maintain multiple projects?

Lynn: As soon as you come into the Army you become responsible, whether it’s for a whole bunch of vehicles or even systems for example. You have to make them all work together to support your team.  In the Signal Corp the skills of juggling multiple projects starts from the beginning. That’s definitely one skill that the Army gives you – how to handle multiple projects at once!

Q: How did you sharpen your organization skills?

Lynn: I grew up in the military family. Organization was built into our DNA. We had to be on time, we had to travel a lot. We kind of had a leg up, being an army brat made me organized.

Q: We are curious about your fluency in Italian.

Lynn:  Yes, I was deployed to Italy in my career, and I had to learn to speak the language in order to perform my job requirements.

Q: Well thanks Sir for your time today.

Lynn:  Quincy, this is just for you.  Keep moving forward.  Never give up!  You have graduated now from Youth Challenge here at Fort Gordon, and we are proud of you!

Report by Quincy Winder, Questions and Additional Reporting by Zia Johnson

Editor’s note:  special thanks to MG Lynn.  Following this interview, he quietly “coined” Quincy.  As he “coined” him, he also shared with him the tradition of the “giving of the coin”.  We’d also like to remember the days of George Washington, and the rumor that we heard also about coining – i.e. he gave a coin to each soldier as they exited the boat at the landing.  Not certain which of accounts are correct, but both sound believable.  We love traditions and especially to pay them forward!