U.S. Army Maj. Dana Love Retires from Active Duty
In May, Army Maj. Dana B. Love, Jr. will retire from active duty after nearly 27 years of service to our nation and its citizens. Most recently, Love served as a product manager within the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity's Warfighter Deployed Medical Systems Project Management Office, in charge of the modernization of products including various computerized tomography devices, the C-Arm, which is a mobile, self-contained X-ray machine, and the Oxygen Generator Field Portable device used to provide oxygen to treat sick and wounded Warfighters in the field. Recently, Love oversaw a Customer Test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to evaluate a new Field Oxygen Generator Resource device for use in the military. Along with his modernization duties, he also has served as lead for the WDMS PMO's Life Cycle Sustainment Plan.
Love's military career is a storied one, which began during high school in his hometown of Slidell, Louisiana. In his junior year, Love enlisted in the Army, and began his service upon graduation. When asked why he decided to join at a young age, he said he felt it was his duty as an American citizen.
"I entered the Army on June 15, 1994, enlisting as an Avionics Mechanic, and my first duty assignments were with the 227th Aviation Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas; Echo Company 503rd, Aviano, Italy; and 6th Aviation Company, Vicenza, Italy," said Love. "I re-enlisted as a Biomedical Maintenance Repairman in February 2000, serving at the 226th Medical Battalion and the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center, when I was selected for appointment as a Health Service Warrant Officer."
As a Warrant Officer, Love was assigned to Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point, where he submitted for a direct appointment to Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon completion of OCS in January 2007, Love was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, Vicenza, Italy, deploying as an Evacuation Team Lead in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon redeployment, he worked as the Brigade Medical Operations Officer and Rear Detachment Commander. After this tour, Love was reassigned to U.S. Army Medical Materiel Commandâ€“Europe, where he served as both Transportation officer and HHD Commander/Operations Officer.
His assignment in Italy proved to be very serendipitous, as that is where he met his wife — and his deep affection for her and their family is very clear and truly heartwarming. Together, they have two boys, or rather, two young men, who are bright, intelligent and respectful.
"My wife and her family are from Vicenza, Italy, and she is a crazy, funny, and routine person," he says with a smile. "She is everything to me, and I wake up every morning looking forward to seeing her beautiful face — when I have the coffee made. And we have been blessed with two great boys who make us very proud."
Thinking of his sons, Love begins to think back on his days as a teenager, living in Louisiana and Mississippi during his younger years. He remembers working quite a bit back then, but if he was not working, he was "the guy in the football stands with the girls." Even back then, he says, he always "wanted to do something that contributed to the success of the United States." Love was a patriot, and he knew in his heart that serving his country was the right thing to do.
So, this brings us back to his military service once again. Interestingly, during his lengthy career, Love has been a Noncommissioned Officer, a Warrant Officer and a Commissioned Officer, which includes being named Distinguished Military Graduate of the Army's Officer Candidate School.
While serving at USAMMCE, Love was selected for Long-Term Health Education and Training at Fort Lee, Virginia, where he completed theater logistics from the Army Logistics University, as well as his master's degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. Love was then assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, where he worked as both the Equipment Management Chief and the Logistics Readiness Officer. During this time, Love again applied for LTHET, for program management training, and he completed this course in June 2019. He then moved on to his current and final assignment, within USAMMDA's WDMS PMO, to serve as both the Military Deputy for Medical Assemblage Device Management and product manager for Medical Modernization.
When asked to name some major influences during his life and career, Love's choices are very eclectic, ranging from Martin Luther King, Jr., to Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, to John Wayne, because his characters "did not take [lip] from anyone." However, he holds a special place for two individuals: his father, and a role model from his childhood years.
"My dad, Dana Love, Sr., will always be my beacon of fatherhood," he said. "He is funny, open, and just an all-around nice guy. He is always looking to help people, and is always available for a quick 'Hi.' He rejoices in the blessing of every day, and he always makes good use of it."
"And Mr. Rod West," he continued, "is my inspiration for military service. He was a firm and stout person whom I admire beyond measure. I consider him as the role model that every young man should have growing up. He really meant a lot to me."
After nearly three decades of faithful service to his country, Love has a long list of people to thank for contributing to his wonderful career — and his words may truly hit home for many.
"Aside from God and family, I have so many people to thank," he said. "Those that I have lost contact with, and no longer remember their names or their faces. Those that put up with me and my desires to overcome all hardships and embrace the adversity as we pushed on during the cold nights, long deployments, and thankless holidays.
"I want to thank the people of America for entrusting me with their kids — making me lead from example and put their interest before my own. I would like to acknowledge those that believed in me enough to allow me to grow as a man and progress in so many ways that I could never say thank you enough. And finally, I'm grateful to those who've had a hand in my career — they know who they are, and for this, they uphold the honor of selfless service."
Now, what is left to do after a career filled with so many wonderful colleagues, and so many special memories?
Love has a pretty good idea. Actually, he has a lot of ideas.
"I'm looking forward to restoring my car, going fishing, taking a self-growth and motivation course, and going to some estate sales — where you buy things people refused to get rid of when they were alive, but then the family turns around and sells them," he joked.
"But I plan on working until I can pay off our mortgage and have a reasonable amount of money in our nest egg," he adds. "And loving my wife until my final days on this earth."
Yes, that seems to be a pretty good retirement plan — and the USAMMDA team wishes Major Love all the best in the years ahead.
USAMMDA is a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, under the Army Futures Command. As the premier developer of world-class military medical capabilities, USAMMDA is responsible for developing and delivering critical products designed to protect and preserve the lives of Warfighters across the globe. USAMRDC is leading research to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19. USAMMDA is applying existing field-leading research capabilities, a global research network and established partnerships to support the Whole-of-Government response to COVID-19.