Army general thanks Ridgewood middle school for supporting troops

Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson (center back) with students from I.S. 93, Debbie Hartz, guidance counselor, and Edward Santos , principal at I.S. 93.
RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice


The students at Ridgewood’s I.S. 93 got a big surprise when Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 for the United States Army, visited the school to talk to the students and thank them for their generous donations to the Adopt-a-Soldier program.

“We have been involved with the U.S. Army Adopt-a-Soldier program here at I.S. 93 since last year,” said Edward Santos, principal of I.S. 93. “We have fundraised and donated enough for 30 or more care packages to send overseas. We have raised in total contributions between $1,500 and $2,000.”

Anderson heard of the school’s work with the Adopt-a-Soldier program and wanted to personally thank the students and staff for their hard work and donations.

“First and foremost, thanks for all the support. Programs like that for what soldiers get when they are deployed are very important to them and it means a lot to them,” Anderson told the students. “But more importantly, it’s important for them to know that people like you care about them.”

Anderson also fielded questions from the curious middle schoolers ranging from what he does as lieutenant general, what it is like working at the Pentagon, the action he has seen in the Army and much more.

“Each of the services have a staff which supports the head of each of the branches, I work for the chief of staff of the Army and the secretary of the Army,” Anderson said when asked about his position with the Army. “But I’m the operations officer so in the corporate world, I am the chief operating officer of the Army. So I run all the deployments, I tell soldiers and units where they’re going to go, we do equipping, we do manning, we do training, all things readiness about deploying.”

When asked what motivated him to join the Army, Anderson told the students that his relatives had joined the armed forces.

“My grandfather was in World War I, my father was in World War II, my brother was in Vietnam,” Anderson said. “But they were all enlisted soldiers. I was the one that ever got a commission. I made a career of it. They served one conflict and they got out. I chose to make a career of it.”

Santos asked Anderson if he could inform the students on the very real differences between actual war and what they may see on television, in movies and in video games.

“All I will tell you is those games are games. That’s why they’re called games,” Anderson said. “If you think what you’re seeing in those games represents reality, no way.”