Retired Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch and his wife Sarah returned Friday to Fort Stewart for a book-signing event at the installation’s main Post Exchange.
Lynch served as the Marne Division commander from 2006-08. His last assignment before retiring was commander of the Installation Management Command and assistant chief of staff Installation Management, U.S. Army Defender 6.
Soldiers and family members of soldiers who served with Lynch while he was at Stewart stood in line to get an autographed copy of his new book, "Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles of an American General." Among those standing in line was Capt. Chatchavan Chanyasubkit.
"I served here while (Lynch) was 3rd Infantry Division commander," Chanyasubkit said. "I was commander of the Wounded Warrior Battalion 2007-08. It was a lot smaller back then. I didn’t get a chance to know him, but I respected his leadership. He checked on his soldiers. He always cared."
Garlon and Miyoko Penland also waited for a signed copy of Lynch’s book. They brought with them a framed picture of then-Maj. Gen. Lynch in his dress blues taken with them at Club Stewart during a 2009 Christmas event. At that time, Penland said, he was commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 46.
When the number of people in line was small enough, Lynch took time to answer questions from the news media about his book. He and Sarah said they "have been smiling from the day they arrived back in Coastal Georgia." The Lynches now live in Dallas, Texas, where he is a consultant and member of a major robotics firm’s advisory board.
"God bless you all," Lynch said to community members in attendance. "We’re a nation at war. We’ve been at war for 12 years now ... There are still a lot of people who hate us and our way of life. Please don’t give up on our servicemen and their families."
He said the thing he remembers most about Stewart is the support the troops had from surrounding communities. He said the residents here really care about the troops and their families.
Lynch explained that he wrote his book because he recognizes a serious need in the country today for real leadership. Too many currently in leadership positions are failing to take responsibility for their actions, he said. He grinned when he was asked about those who might say his 35 years of military leadership isn’t the same as the leadership needed in business or government.
"I get a kick out of those comments," Lynch said. "In the last job I had in the Army, I was responsible for more than 65,000 soldiers. I was (also) responsible for 120,000 civilians ... The leadership skills I learned in the Army apply directly to what we need in the civilian sector."
He called IMCOM and ACSIM a $12 billion a year industry. In his new civilian leadership role, he said he is regarded for his background in Army robotics and as someone who knows how to lead and get things done.
Lynch’s book, which has a cover price of $22.99, is published by Baker Books of Grand Rapids, Mich.