FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - The late General Douglas MacArthur once said that old soldiers never die, they just fade away.
That's not always the case; some go out with a flourish.
Take for instance a former commanding general at Fort Benning. His retirement on-post is the focus of this week's Military Matters segment.
General Michael Ferriter's 35-year Army career has taken him all over the world. But five different stops at Fort Benning made the choice of where to hold his retirement ceremony pretty easy.
"We've raised our kids in this area," said Ferriter. "We're connected to Columbus and to Phenix City, and to all of our friends, and so it's only natural for us to come back here for our final event of this great journey."
And quite a distinguished group was there to bid him farewell. They included General James Campbell, the Army's vice chief of staff, and Congressman Sanford Bishop.
Oh, and Ferriter's wife and children wouldn't have missed it for the world.
"My family is invested in the Army as well, with a son who's a major, Major Dan; Captain Paddy Ferriter, my other son; Mary Whitney's just left the service and my daughter Dr. Megan Ferriter," he said. "With the many deployments I've had obviously, my dear wife Margie has done just an awesome job."
Like a lot of people who make that final decision to retire, the general gets a little nostalgic when asked what life will be like when he takes off his uniform for one last time.
"You know, we're going to miss the fast pace," he said. "We're going to miss that no matter how hard things are, you can trust the people on your left and right. You cannot pay a soldier enough money for what a soldier does, and you certainly can't pay a soldier enough money for what his family goes through, but they go through it together."
To reflect Ferriter's career as a Paratrooper and Ranger, the Silver Wings parachute team put on a demonstration, and even the President sent his best wishes. It's a long road from 2nd Lieutenant to a three-star general, but Ferriter puts it all in perspective.
"I've always viewed the Army as pretty simple," he said. "Your job is to build teams. Your job is to take care of the soldiers. You know, my platoon got bigger and bigger. I started with 30 and I ended up with 73,000."
Gen. Ferriter says he and his wife plan to travel in the first few months of their retirement. He adds that they've made no concrete plans as to where they will settle down.