Center’s deputy commander retiring

Huntsville Center Public Affairs Office
Published March 31, 2014
Then Maj. William Burruss in Iraq. After a 25-year career in the Army, Lt. Col. Burruss, Huntsville Center deputy commander, will retire from service.

Then Maj. William Burruss in Iraq. After a 25-year career in the Army, Lt. Col. Burruss, Huntsville Center deputy commander, will retire from service.

Huntsville Center deputy commander Lt. Col. William Burruss is retiring in May after a 25 - year career with the Army.

Prior to his arrival at Huntsville Center, Burruss served in the 555th Engineer Brigade at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he served as the brigade’s chief of construction in Iraq, and after return served as the brigade budget officer.

Upon graduation from West Point in 1989, Burruss was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

He began his troop assignments with the 37th Engineer Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served as a platoon leader, company executive officer and battalion adjutant. 

While serving as a platoon leader he deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. 

After completion of the Engineer Officer Advanced Course, he commanded the 84th Engineer Company, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and later served as an Engineer Platoon Observer/Controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La. 

Other assignments include serving as a combat operations analyst for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center and combat training center analyst for the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. 

After Leavenworth, he deployed to Camp Red Cloud, Korea, where he served as the assistant division engineer for 2nd Infantry Division. 

His previous assignments with the Corps of Engineers include deputy commander of the Memphis District, Memphis, Tenn.; Fallujah Resident Office officer in charge, Camp Fallujah, Iraq; and deputy commander of the Vicksburg District, Vicksburg, Miss. 

Q: As a former District deputy commander, compare and contrast those positions to the deputy commander position here at the Center.

A: The Center is a Major Subordinate Command reporting straight to HQ USACE rather than having a Division staff layered in-between.  The advantage is we often get information quicker and with less filtering, so we typically have a better understanding of what is going on.  It also means more work because we have to do our own mission analysis and develop our plans without help from a division staff.  I think this actually helps HQ because the Center is one of the few “execution” type organizations providing feedback straight to them. 

Q: You’re a decorated Soldier with wartime experience in Southwest Asia. What did it mean to you personally to serve during wartime?

A: It meant a lot to me serving overseas.  I really appreciated the opportunity to serve my country in a wartime environment where I felt like I was making a difference. During the deployments, everyone was focused on the mission, and we had the resources to do our job, so we could really get a lot done relatively quickly. It was also rewarding working with local Iraqis doing reconstruction efforts and satisfying to see relatively quick results.

Q: You served as a combat operations analyst. What does a combat operations analyst do? A:  We helped the Army make major doctrine and procurement decisions by running large computerized combat simulations. We built base models, then changed unit structures/organization; tactics, techniques and procedures or major equipment. We analyzed the results and provided data or recommendations to senior level decision makers. 

Q: What was the professional highlight of your career?

A: Working with 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Red Cloud, Republic of Korea. One year’s experience there was like two assignments stateside.  We visited the Joint Security Area and had the opportunity to look into North Korea and see their propaganda village, the still treeless landscape and soldiers pulling guard duty there. It was inspiring seeing the ROK Soldiers standing their posts too, knowing the threat was real and they were ready to do whatever necessary to protect their country.

Q: What did your time in the Army teach you about leadership?

A: The most important thing a leader can do is to take care of their people and their team. A great example was how we approached sequestration and government shutdown. Everyone knew it was a bad situation forced upon us, but we did our absolute best to influence what we could to take care of our workforce. 

Q: What’s next for you and your family?

A:  We really like the Huntsville area so we plan on staying here. My wife will teach chemistry and our younger son will be heading to Auburn this fall to study engineering. I’ll be looking for an opportunity to continue serving our nation in some science, technology, engineering and mathematics capacity.