by Jeremy P. Amick
Hank Stratman’s life is one characterized by leadership opportunities. Coming of age during the Vietnam War and the Cold War in Europe, he attended college, deferring his military service and achieving an ROTC commission to grant himself some control over his fate if deployed to Vietnam. Cadet Stratman excelled at ROTC Summer Camp and qualified to lead Lincoln University’s ROTC battalion in his senior year and, in December 1972, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. Married with one child and another on the way, he and his wife ventured into the uncertain military service world, confident – yet apprehensive about what they might encounter in the Army. The officer embraced many challenging assignments, earning the trust and confidence of his senior officers, who inspired him to remain in the Army. As a soldier, he made the transition from a tactical nuclear missile system to cannon artillery, served in Germany and South Korea during the Cold War, and was later selected for battalion command – a milestone achievement surpassed only by his unit’s combat performance in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In the years after the collapse of Yugoslavia, he serviced two peacekeeping missions in Bosnia. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he fulfilled key roles in the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan and establishment of the combat theater in the Middle East for Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final tour of duty was in Baghdad, serving with the U.S. Embassy to establish Iraq’s governance. In 2006, he retired as a major general with three decades of military service, demonstrating that a farm boy from rural Vienna, Missouri, could take on the many diverse, global challenges and consistently succeed. HOOAH!