Some of the best experiences in Col. Eric Rannow’s military career happened when he did not get the duty assignment he wanted.
Rannow has served as military deputy at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center since 2018, coming to Redstone from his previous assignment as the Test Center commander of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. After White Sands, Rannow said he initially hoped to move back to the National Capital Region and finish his career at the Pentagon. But instead his last duty station would be Redstone Arsenal, which would become an unexpected blessing.
Rannow, in typical form, took the change in stride, remembering a time early in his military career when he asked to be stationed in Germany but instead was sent to Fort Hood, Texas.
“I quickly developed a passion for my mission as an artilleryman with the 1st Cavalry Division and felt a great sense of camaraderie with all the outstanding people I worked with at Fort Hood,” said Rannow, who fondly recalled time spent with his buddies in nearby Austin or at Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers games. “That first assignment was instrumental as it really set the hook in me and I’ve loved the Army ever since.”
It is that can-do attitude that has served Rannow well, from starting his military career at the U.S. Military Academy to finishing it at AvMC. He said every duty station that he had was his favorite assignment.
“I would be reluctant to go back and change anything,” Rannow said. “Because it might have altered the course that I was on and I have enjoyed my career. I am glad that I left it in the Lord’s hands. It’s worked out for me.”
Rannow, a Wisconsin native, is the rare Northern transplant who actually likes the South’s hot summer weather. After retirement, he and his wife, Katy, plan to stay in the Madison area. He said that for the first time in his life he is looking forward to just taking some time off, to spend with their daughter who is a student at Texas Christian University and their son, who followed in his father’s boot steps to West Point.
As Rannow prepares for his retirement ceremony June 15, he expressed his appreciation to the AvMC workforce.
“This job is the best colonel job on all of Redstone. I got a chance to work with a professional organization that is helping to shape the Army’s future in two different portfolios. The depth and breadth of our mission is impressive. DEVCOM’s total budget is a little over $7 billion dollars – we alone are $3.8 billion of that,” he said. “Thanks for the opportunity to be your mil dep. Keep doing the Lord’s work. The mission that the Army shoulders for the nation only gets heavier. The things we do here help our Army be more effective, more lethal – and more survivable.”
Looking back at a career as initially an artillery officer and later on acquisition, Rannow said his advice is not necessarily just for the young Soldier but for anyone embarking on their career.
“I’d offer this advice to any young person just starting out: having a good attitude is critical to your success in life,” he said. “Your attitude is the one thing you can 100% control, 100% of the time. People cannot control their environment or the circumstances that unfold in their lives from day to day but people can control how they react to situations and their surroundings. A positive attitude attracts others and seems to inspire good luck, while a negative attitude tends to repel people over time and tends to invite bad luck. If you work hard, have a positive attitude, and find the good in things, life will present many great opportunities.”