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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Andrew G. Attar, Jr., Major in the United States Army

Major Andrew G. Attar, Jr. was born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut in 1974 and completed his undergraduate work at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. While at UCONN Maj. Attar was active in several organizations, including the College Republicans, where he served for one year as chairman, and the Army ROTC program, where he served as the cadet battalion commander his senior year. In 1996, Maj. Attar graduated from UCONN with a degree in political science and was awarded distinguished military graduate status by the US Army and commissioned as a second lieutenant.

After initial training as an air defense artillery officer and specialized training with the Patriot Air Defense Missile System, Maj. Attar served in a variety of command and staff positions. As a Patriot Missile officer, Maj. Attar served in South Korea, Kuwait, and Fort Bliss, TX. In 2003, as commander of Charlie Battery, 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, Maj. Attar deployed his Patriot Battery in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Redeploying later that year, Maj. Attar served for three years teaching Military Science as an Assistant Professor at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri.

From 2006 to 2008, Maj. Attar represented US interests in Ankara, Turkey at NATO’s Center of Excellence for Defense Against Terrorism. Following two years in Turkey, Maj. Attar reported to Fort Riley, KS and deployed with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division to Baghdad, Iraq. During this 12-month surge-deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Maj. Attar was responsible for all civil reconstruction projects in western Baghdad. Upon redeployment in 2009, Maj. Attar became the executive officer of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division’s Special Troops Battalion, where he served an additional 15 months, including a 2nd deployment to Baghdad in support this time of Operation New Dawn. Maj. Attar recently redeployed from Iraq and will later this summer report to Fort Leavenworth, KS and attend the US Army’s Command and General Staff College.

Maj. Attar has been awarded 3 Bronze Star Medals for combat service, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 1 Joint Service Commendation Medal, and 3 Army Commendation Medals.

Maj. Attar is married to the former Tracy Grabinski of Grand Rapids, Michigan and together they have five children, Susan, James, Sam, Juliana, and Daniel. We are so pleased to present Andrew Attar as our latest Mover and Shaker, particularly because he is Peachy's cousin!  His grandmother is Peachy's grandmother's sister and she is sitting on the lap of their grandmother in the photo of The Deegan Girls; Peachy's grandmother is to the right.

Peachy Deegan interviewed Andy Attar for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What roles in the military have you enjoyed the most and why?
Major Andrew Attar: The level of responsibility - that starts really right away as a 21 year-old Second Lieutenant direct out of college - is awesome. And it only grows over time and as one advances up the ranks. You really get to have an impact on the varied missions around the globe and you get to play a big role in the lives of our Soldiers. Young men and women put their implicit trust and confidence in their leadership. They rightfully expect for us to train them, equip them, and do the necessary planning to ensure that they accomplish their mission successfully and with the least amount of risk. All that together is a huge responsibility, but it is also fun.

How has it been to serve under three different presidential administrations and can you please compare and contrast each of them?
I'm a solid Republican, but you'd be surprised how non-political military service is. Transitioning from George Bush to Barack Obama as commander-in-chief was very seamless for the Army, at least from my perspective.

Do you have future political ambitions and if so, what are they?
I think that I'm far too conservative to be elected for my home state of Connecticut!

What should Manhattanites know and understand about the military that most probably do not know and understand?
I think most Manhattanites would be surprised how diverse the military is. It is not a monolith ideologically, politically, or otherwise.

What location have you liked to work in the most and why?
By far the best location I've served at was in Turkey. My family and I lived in Ankara for two years. It was wonderful. The quality of life was excellent for us. But also it was an honor to represent our nation at a small NATO headquarters. There was only a Navy Captain and myself working there representing the USA.

What does it take to be a Major and what percentage of those serving reach that rank?
A brand new officer is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (O-1) after graduation. To rise up the ranks you need to perform well at certain, specific jobs in each grade or rank. For instance, to be promoted to Major (O-4), one normally has to have successfully commanded a company-sized (about 100 Soldiers) organization as a Captain (O-3), and complete some necessary military education courses along the way. My guess would be that about 30% of my peers who started off as a Second Lieutenant along with me in 1996 are still in the Army and serving in the grade of Major today.

How did you earn each of your three bronze stars?
I earned each bronze star from successful combat deployments (all three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom) where my superiors felt that I contributed significantly to the overall effort.

What do your other medals represent in terms of what you did to earn them?
The other medals are peacetime medals which signify some sort of meritorious achievement or completing a tour of duty which encompassed some high level of responsibility.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
The Army does a fantastic job at mentoring young leaders. There are numerous senior officers for whom I've worked that have left a big legacy with me in terms of work ethic and standards. Too many to begin to mention. In terms of a major role model, I was very much inspired by Gen. Colin Powell. When mentoring junior officers myself, I regularly reference Gen. Powell's autobiography and some of his leadership philosophy points.

What are you proudest of and why?
I'm proudest of my family. I have five beautiful children and a loving and hardworking partner, my wife, Tracy.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Commanding a battalion would be a great honor. But it's highly selective. Our Soldiers only deserve the very best leadership, so I have no sour grapes whatsoever about the rigorous selection process for command at the battalion level and higher.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
I've received several military awards and decorations, but the most meaningful to me have been the simple words of thanks and respect from the many Soldiers whom I've had the privilege to serve with and in some cases lead. When Soldiers and non-commissioned officers come up to you and thank you for your leadership or something specific you've done to help them that means more than any award or honor. It means you've had an impact on an organization. You've helped people thrive and meet their goals. That's the biggest pay-off professionally for me.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
I love St. Patrick's. Such a magnificent monument to the hard work and sacrifice of New York's Catholic immigrants.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
Joseph Abboud

What is your favorite drink?
Without a doubt The Peachy Deegan. When will they start bottling it and marketing it around the country? Second place would be Glenfiddich single malt.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Katz's Deli

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
The Bonfire of the Vanities

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
Madison Square Garden. So I can get the best seats in the house to great games. (I think the Knicks will get to the Eastern Conference finals this year)

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Being at the Big East Championship in 1996 and seeing UCONN's victory. Ray Allen and Allen Iverson. Great game.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Be at the center of the world.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
Try to give to charity as much as possible.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
There are a few I like-Take a Trip to Connecticut, Patriotic Peachy, I Drank The Peachy Deegan...

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not?
Not yet, but will at my first opportunity!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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