Brig. Gen. Tom Feltey comes home to chat Army with local high school students

Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Feltey, despite having ascended to one of the highest positions in the United States military, has never forgotten his roots. And over the years, he says many of the lessons he learned whilst a youngster in Kearny have stuck with him throughout his epic career.

Through and through, he is what makes Kearny such a special place to be raised and to live.

So it should come as no surprise that as leaders from across the U.S. Army are focusing on reconnecting with communities to generate community support for the Army by focusing on young adults eligible to serve in the U.S. Army, and as part of that, on April 12-13, Feltey visited students at Harrison and Kearny high schools, in addition to stops at Union and Barringer high schools.

Feltey discussed the opportunities the Army provided him and his family, like how it made it possible for a kid from Kearny to visit 48 states and almost 40 countries.

Three of his own kids were born in Germany and his family has friends across the globe.

Not only did the Feltey family travel the world, they were able to go to college courtesy of the Army.

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These benefits are universally appealing to students, the Army says.

So with about 75% of young people today admitting they know little to nothing about the U.S. Army and the career opportunities it offers, these visits allow students to ask questions and ease concerns about a potential career in the military.

One student at Harrison High School asked Feltey whether he ever regretted joining the Army.

In response, Feltey said: “Looking back over 29 years, there are moments where I asked ‘What did I get myself into? I cannot feel my fingers. I cannot feel my toes. As a leader, you cannot feel sorry for yourself very long. My soldiers give me energy.’ It is important to remember that the Army does not send soldiers into situations you are not trained to deal with — and that training makes you stronger.” 

More than just a ‘recruiting’ experience

Feltey, who has been in Kearny a few times since he was promoted to brigadier general last year, had breakfast with his dad, and two dear friends, John Koutsouris and Mike Andrade, where else, but at The Greeks.

“He had a paced schedule, but it was great to see Tom here for breakfast,” Koutsouris said. “It was great to spend time with him that morning before he had to head out to Harrison High School.”

Having survived that breakfast experience, later that day, Feltey had lunch catered by the Kearny High School culinary arts students, with Mayor Alberto G. Santos in attendance.

He was also expected to meet with Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka later on that day.

Parents, students, want to know more?

Students and parents are encouraged to keep asking questions. Recruiters are available to meet and discuss any general questions or concerns. With over 150 different career paths available in the U.S. Army, there is something for everyone. For specific career-related questions, recruiters may setup an appointment to speak with a specialist.

For follow up questions regarding this visit and what the Army is doing in your communities, please contact Allison Luchnick, Public Affairs specialist, U.S. Army Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, at

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.