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Demaine Funeral Home

5308 Backlick Road, Springfield, VA

OBITUARY

Gerald Harrison Putman

December 7, 1939November 2, 2019

MG (Retired) Jerry Putman was born in Cuero, Texas and attended Texas A&M. He graduated A&M in 1962 and absolutely loved the Aggies, especially Aggies Football. He loved football of any kind, but if the Aggies were playing you knew where Jerry would be; if he had fried chicken while watching football, Jerry was a happy man. After serving over three decades in the Army, he worked for Raytheon, L3 Communications, and did private consulting work. Jerry is survived by Mecky, his wife of 54 years; their daughter Robin and two grandchildren Michaela and Nicholas; a sister Susan Orsak, and her sons Michael and Patrick; nephews John and Alex Putman; and niece Elizabeth Putman Ulrich. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Harry and Evelyn Putman, his brother Doctor Donald Putman, sister in law Beth Putman, and his best friend Danny Adams. Jerry had a lifelong love of fishing, which included trips to Rockport, Texas to see his childhood friend, Danny Adams, as well as his wife Betty Mae. MG Putman served his nation and fellow Soldiers honorably for over 33 years, initially in Vietnam, then Germany, where he met and married Mecky. He mid-career assignments included the US Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM), and the 82d Airborne Division at Ft Bragg, NC. He commanded at Battalion thru Theater / AADCOM level: 3-67 ADA, 3ID, 11th ADA Brigade, 3rd Army & ARCENT; 32nd Army Air Defense Command (AADCOM), 8th Army/US Army Europe, and the US Army Personnel Command (PERSCOM). MG Putman retired in 1994 while serving in the Pentagon as the Army’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. Throughout his career he was respected and admired as a tough leader and effective trainer. He set high standards for himself and for his soldiers. He embedded the warrior’s spirit in all of his units and transformed the 32nd AADCOM from a Cold War European mindset into a mobile, deployable command focused on warfighting support of maneuver forces. Clear evidence of his training standards was the consistently successful performance of US Army Patriot units during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Israel. MG Putman’s vision and perseverance created Army Air Defense capabilities so essential to Army missions today. Jerry will be buried at Arlington cemetery with full honors at a date to be announced.

Services

  • Funeral Service & Interment with Full Military Honors

Memories

Gerald Harrison Putman

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Robert Ayers

November 19, 2019

Jerry was my father-in-law, mentor, friend and fishing buddy. He set quite the example: friend, father, husband, soldier, patriot and leader. I'm forever in his debt and will miss him.

"I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love." - Leo Buscaglia

Rest in peace Jerry.

Roger Mathews

November 18, 2019

In 1979, while I was serving in 1-59 ADA, 8th ID as a 2LT, I had the opportunity to meet then-COL Putnam. It was during an exercise called, RELIABLE STING. Colonel Putnam walked into the 4th Brigade TOC and walked up to me and asked how the aircraft Early Warning was going. After I mumbled a few words, "goooood Sir", we had a good chat. To me, he seemed 7-8 feet tall. He was wearing what we called in those days a fatique "Graf Hat". His eagle also seemed huge! I'll always remember his 'command pressence'. Fortunately, I had several other opportunities to talk with him over the following years. He was a great Soldier and will be missed.

Jesse Hall

November 17, 2019

Great leader, I remember the time at Fort Bliss, one of his officers bit the head of a chicken off just to empress him.

Tim Denning

November 16, 2019

I have been struggling to find the words, since I got the news this past Monday, to adequately express my admiration, gratitude, and love for Gen. Putman. I had the privilege of working with Gen. Putman very closely for nearly three years, and being friends for ling after. I learned more in those three years from him, and the other men and women of the LSG/MPRI, than I had learned in any three years of school or other work. As Jeff Spears says, it was a PhD in leadership, and Gen. Putman was one of the chief instructors.

As masterful motivator, he could engender an incredible loyalty as I, and many others, would be willing to run through a wall for him, if it could bring his approval. As a skilled negotiator, I observed him build coalitions and garner support to address thorny issues, finding solutions that kept the missions moving forward. And, as a respected leader, he led by example, working the same hours as he demanded from his people and always leading from the front.

Though possessing a tough exterior, underneath was a kind, compassionate, generous man. He showed me, and others, tremendous generosity. He truly cared for people. There was always a story with Gen. Putman, and if you listened well enough to his amazing tales, there was always a lesson. I am not sure if Jerry meant to be a great a teacher, but he always was.

Thank you for helping shape me into the person I am today. Thank you for taking an interest in me and teaching more than I could ever hope to learn. I will never know what I did to deserve your confidence, guidance, mentorship, and friendship, but I am grateful every day that I had it. Mecky, Robin, and the rest of Gen. Putman’s family; my sincerest condolences and gratitude for this great American.

Matthew Bambrick

November 14, 2019

I was deeply saddened to hear of MG. Putman’s passing. I had the honor and privilege to work for him in service to our great nation on both personal and professional levels within the US Army and Raytheon. For those of us that knew him, he was absolutely passionate about the troops he commanded in any kind of capacity. While in the 32nd AADCOM, I fondly recall him serving troops in the mess hall, traveling to the Middle East to visit the 32nd AADOM troops, and installing kitchens within all 32nd AADCOM barracks so that single soldiers could make their own food if they wished. It was always all about the troops being taken care of under his command and he always ensured his commanders were always following suit. Both Officers and NCO’s always respected him.

While working in the Pentagon, I’ll never forget the day I received a phone call from someone that he was out looking for me. Wondering if I did anything wrong, he offered me to apply for a position with Raytheon that I eventually got hired for. The sign of a great leader is displayed when your troops trust you and follow you unconditionally. MG Putman was exemplary leader in this fashion as I would follow him anywhere.

There is no amount of words that can describe what MG. Putman has done for me, taught me and the kindness he and Mrs. Putman shared with me. I will always be forever grateful for the sincere honor and privilege of having worked with him and for him.

For Mrs. Putman and Robyn, my deepest sorrow and condolences to the both of you in this tremendous loss.

Thank You for everything Sir. Rest in peace and God’s speed.

HOOAH!

Tony Palumbo

November 13, 2019

It seems impossible that he is gone. He was the quintessential constant in so many lives, and particularly so with his military friends. I guess we assumed that he was indestructible, an immovable force with infinite permanence. Many of us had the honor of serving with him and being friends during his career and later as retirees. I can attest that his approach in life never changed one iota. Dynamic, innovative, fiercely competitive, and always, always interested in what “his people” were doing and how they were doing it. He set many standards while forging new leaders for the Army. Nobody will forget him, nor should they. He became a part of us, just as we became a part of him. Rest In Peace.

Rich Lakis

November 13, 2019

I had the privilege of working for Jerry at L-3. He was many things to me above and beyond being "the boss." Jerry was a leader, a mentor, and a cherished friend. I tapped into his wisdom on many occasions and consider myself to be a better person because of the guidance he so often shared. Many of us are fortunate enough to count ourselves as members of Jerry's extended family. To Mecky, Robin and his grandchildren, I offer my deepest condolences. He was one of a kind and will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace Jerry.
Rich Lakis

Mark Tiner

November 13, 2019

It was a great privilege to have worked for General Putman during our work at the L-3 Services Group where he hired me to work on Congressional Affairs with our friend and colleague, Matt Braunstein. As a fellow Southerner I deeply appreciated General Putman's upbringing in Texas and his love of his alma mater, Texas A&M. I always believed those connections were central to his essence and approach to life. And those Texas values guided him throughout his life to the highest echelons of the military and corporate America, this country he loved so deeply. While we were of naturally different political stripes I was constantly reminded of his fairness, even in the Congressional realm which required an even headed understanding of decision-making that could impact the LSG corporate portfolio. He offered firm but fair and mostly hands-off guidance which demonstrated confidence in the talent he so deftly cultivated. General Putman was always incisive in his views about current events and even until his final days was engaged in the current events of the day. I know how much he loved his family because we spoke about them often. General Putman is an American original that I'm so proud to have humbly served. General Putman, thank you for everything. Sir, you'll be missed more than I can ever express.

Fondly,
Mark Tiner

Nancy Lichtenfels

November 13, 2019

MG Jerry Putman was a man who loved life, loved his wife, Mecki his daughter, Robin and her family and most certainly, he loved Texas A&M! I worked with MG Putman during my days at MPRI as well as with L-3 Services Group. Despite his sometimes gruff demeaner, he was a "softie" when it came to the people who worked for him. Mecki and Robin, I am so sorry, we have lost a great man and the two of you have lost a wonderful husband and father.

Jeff Spears

November 11, 2019

I had the honor to know General Putman from my time with MPRI/L-3 Services Group. He was a great mentor and friend. I learned a lot from my time under his watch, and I pull from it everyday. Early in my time with him I had messed something up - something that today I have forgotten. Hat in hand I said “Sir, I’ve messed something up - you might have to fire me” to which he replied, “I won’t fire you, I will just fire you up.” There was always a lesson to be had if one paid attention. He will be missed by me and all that knew him.

FROM THE FAMILY