DISA's assistant to the director closes out 35-year career

Renee Hatcher
Office of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs
April 28, 2022 

Major Gen. Garrett Yee receives a Defense Superior Service Medal
 Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee receives a Defense Superior Service Medal, presented by Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner during his retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. Yee was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal for his superior meritorious service in a duty of significant responsibility as assistant to the DISA director. (U.S. DOD photo by David Marin, DISA/Released) 

 

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, assistant to the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, retired April 28 among 300 of his closest family, friends and colleagues during a ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia overlooking the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol.

“For me, it always has been and always will be about partnerships,” Yee said. “Whether it’s meeting with mission partners to make sure we get them exactly what they need or working with industry partners to help deliver our warfighters best-value capabilities.”

Since his arrival at DISA, Yee provided leadership for the agency’s $13 billion information technology and cybersecurity portfolio, and a 19,000 combined military, civilian and contract workforce that provides IT support to the president, secretary of defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commanders and DOD components.

Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, DISA director and JFHQ-DODIN commander, hosted the retirement ceremony and highlighted some of Yee’s contributions to the agency including his role as the senior mission partner executive.

“Garrett made a difference with everything he was involved with,” Skinner said. “When it comes to the customer’s voice and the ability to find creative solutions for difficult problems, his presence will be missed.”

Skinner also cited Yee’s work as a tireless advocate for the DISA workforce, creating new internal communication platforms including his monthly talk show, “Military Matters,” and the bi-weekly “DISA In The Know” information exchange.

 Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, and Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee shake hands during Yee’s retirement ceremony
 Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, and Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee shake hands during Yee’s retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. The ceremony was held in recognition of Yee’s 35 years of military service. (U.S. DOD photo by Eric Glisson, DISA/Released)
“Since Garrett arrived at DISA, his continued focus on our military, civilian and contract workforce has enabled the agency to thrive, even during the pandemic,” Skinner said.

Prior to DISA, Yee served as the military deputy to the Army Chief Information Officer, and as the Army’s senior information security officer at the Pentagon. In this capacity, Yee led the Army’s $11 billion enterprise network modernization and was an advocate for improving cybersecurity for both government and civilian organizations.

“Garrett, our nation owes you and your family a debt of gratitude, not just for your service, but for caring enough to lead by example,” Skinner said. “Your selfless service to our great nation has left an impact that will not soon be forgotten.”

 

Eric Shinseki, retired Army general who served as the seventh U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the 34th Chief of Staff of the Army, was the guest speaker for the ceremony.

“Garrett, congratulations on your 35 remarkable years in uniform,” Shinseki said. “As we thank you, we thank your family. You and your remarkable family have served in every conflict since World War II and in nearly every service. Good luck, God speed.”

 Distinguished guests
Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, the Honorable Eric Shinseki and Army Gen. Paul Nakasone look on during the retirement ceremony for Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. Skinner hosted the event while Shinseki was the guest speaker. (U.S. DOD photo by David Marin, DISA/Released) 


In his remarks, Yee recognized former bosses, colleagues, teammates, and gave special thanks to his family.

“As some of you know, my mother Michiko, who is Japanese American, and her family were interned during World War II,” Yee said. “It took strength, courage, and grit to move past that. Strength, courage, and grit was your gift to me. Thank you. My father, who served in the Army during World War II, inspired me to do my best. He was able see my promotion to brigadier general in 2013, then passed a year later while I was deployed to the Middle East. Dad, I know you here with us today.”

 Major Gen. Garrett Yee presents his mom, Michiko Yee, flowers during his retirement ceremony
 Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee presents his mom, Michiko Yee, flowers during his retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. Yee thanked his mom for the way she raised him. (U.S. DOD photo by David Marin, DISA/Released) 


Yee said his wife, Maria, was the best thing that ever happened to him. The two met when they were 15, married at 20, and have three children together.

“The things that you went through during my deployments only scratch the surface of how you have kept our family together for 36 years,” Yee said to his wife.

A Fremont, California native, Yee attended Santa Clara University where he joined the Army ROTC program. Four years later he had a wife, a degree and a commission in the Army Reserve.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Yee was activated and deployed multiple times to several locations both stateside and combat zones. It was during his third deployment to Southwest Asia that Yee was asked to lead the network modernization for the Army at the Pentagon. He accepted and, in 2015, Maria joined him for what they thought would be a one-year assignment. Four years later he was asked by the DISA Director, Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, to join her team.

 Major Gen. Garrett Yee speaks during his retirement ceremony
 Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee speaks during his retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. The ceremony was held in recognition of Yee’s 35 years of military service. (U.S. DOD photo by David Marin, DISA/Released)
“I am forever grateful,” he said. “It has been a nine-year sprint as a general officer, but I am thankful for every moment.”

As for what he will miss after retirement, Yee said it’s being part of the military team and having the privilege of leading America’s sons and daughters.

“To those who came before me, all the veterans here and not here today, my many family members that have served, especially my father, I honor your service and I say thank you for paving the way,” Yee said. “I have stood on your shoulders for the past 35 years. Now, it’s my turn to step aside and lend my shoulder.”

 

 Major Gen. Garrett Yee’s family members
Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee’s family members look on as he thanks them for their sacrifice and support throughout his career, during his retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. Yee’s mother, wife, children and siblings were among his family members in attendance. (U.S. DOD photo by David Marin, DISA/Released) 
 Army Gen. Paul Nakasone poses with Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee during Yee’s retirement ceremony
 Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command; director, National Security Agency; chief, Central Security Service, poses with Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee during Yee’s retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. Nakasone presented Yee with a Public Service Medallion in recognition of Yee’s 35 years of military service. (U.S. DOD photo by Eric Glisson, DISA/Released)
 Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Cresopo and Lt. Gen. John Morrison present Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee with the Silver Order of Mercury
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Crespo and Lt. Gen. John Morrison present Army Major Gen. Garrett Yee with the Silver Order of Mercury during Yee’s retirement ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, April 28, 2022. The Silver Order of Mercury is the Signal Corps Regimental Association’s highest award, and is awarded to those select few who have made conspicuous long-term significant contributions to the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the Signal Corps Regimental Association. (U.S. DOD photo by David Marin, DISA/Released)




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