Skip to comments.Face of Defense: Generalís Son Pursues Same Path
Posted on 07/08/2010 12:33:18 PM PDT by SandRat
TOLEDO, Ohio, July 8, 2010 The OConnor family from northwestern Ohio prides itself on spirituality and hard work, while giving back to their community.
In 1977, OConnor accompanied his parents as they retired to Florida and finished high school there. After graduating, he enrolled in the University of Miami, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1984 and completed the ROTC program, earning his Army commission as a second lieutenant transportation officer.
It was hard to leave my home and that support system I had around me in Toledo, OConnor said. Even though I was not a seasoned military brat like my kids, with over 10 moves under their belt, the move to Florida as a teenager was an opportunity to spread my wings and gain some early independence while getting a great education.
OConnor and his wife, Andree, have two children together: a son, Ryan, 18, and a daughter, Meryl, 16.
Ryan recently graduated from high school in the local community outside of Fort Eustis, Va., and now is headed to Ohio to attend the University of Toledo.
My brother, Bill, a Navy submarine veteran, lives in Toledo, and has always played a big part in Ryans life as his godfather and a mentor to him, OConnor said. As a father, I feel very comfortable with my son going back to my hometown, because I know he will have a lot of people there who care about him and will introduce him to that great Midwest living and culture.
OConnors son will be in the ROTC program at the university, and plans to follow in his fathers military footsteps as he seeks the same brotherhood and camaraderie the Army has provided the senior OConnor for more than 26 years.
Toledo seems to have something going for it when it comes to producing general officers. Two friends and colleagues of General OConnor -- Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert H. McMahon, director of the U.S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Center, and Army Maj. Gen. James Rogers, commanding general of 1st Theater Sustainment Command -- also hail from Toledo.
What are the odds that three generals, all from Toledo, would be serving forward at Camp Arifjan [in Kuwait] at the same time? OConnor asked with a chuckle.
When I met my wife, while we were both working in Germany in 1987, we married the same year after four months of dating, OConnor said. My boss at the time, retired Maj. Gen. Tom Arwood, was my best man. I was a first lieutenant at the time, and yes, the general was from Toledo too. So my general officer connection to the Glass City goes way back.
OConnor said he believes his strong Midwest values are a direct result of a cultural upbringing in an environment of teamwork and commitment. He also is reminded of the importance of service to nation as he looks across his family and thinks of those who have served or are serving in the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
OConnor credits his parents -- William II, a World War II Navy veteran and career fireman, and Betty Jane, a career nurse -- for the familys commitment to give back to their communities and work in the public sector.
I really owe it to my mom and dad for always instilling in us the importance of giving back and to do things for the greater good, the general said. I am very proud that my son is following in these very footsteps. It makes me feel like the important things my parents taught me are being handed down to the next generation.