Major General Joseph Arbuckle (ret) was born on February 28, 1946, in Lincoln, Illinois, enlisted in the US Army in 1968, and was commissioned in the Ordnance Corps upon graduating from Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir in 1970. Volunteering for duty as an Infantry officer, he served a year in Vietnam as an Advisory Team Detachment Commander and as an Assistant District Senior Advisor.
Returning from Vietnam, Arbuckle began a series of assignments that would make him one of the Army’s missile maintenance experts.
In 1972-1973, he served as Missile Maintenance Officer in 3rd Battalion (HAWK), 68th Air Defense Artillery, and as aide-de-camp to the Commanding General, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Homestead Air Force Base, Florida.
From 1975 to 1977, he served as Missile Maintenance Officer in the Headquarters and Light Maintenance Company and then commanded Company G, Missile Maintenance, in the 124th Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
From 1978 to 1980, Arbuckle commanded the 4th Ordnance Company in the 3rd Ordnance Battalion in Miesau, Germany, a 300-Soldier company supporting the 32nd Air Defense Command. From 1985 to 1987, he commanded the 1,200 Soldiers of the 55th Support Battalion at Neu Ulm, Germany, supporting the 56th Field Artillery Command (Pershing). Arbuckle’s contributions were not limited to missiles.
From 1988 to 1990, he served as Chief, Depot Maintenance Branch, and then as Executive to the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of the Army.
From 1990 to 1992, Arbuckle played a key role as an Army Strategic Fellow in developing the “Revolution in Military Logistics (RML),” a key aspect of the “Revolution in Military Affairs.” He continued to develop and refine RML while serving as Director of the Commanding General’s Staff Group at US Army Materiel Command (AMC) from 1994 to 1995. RML called for increased automation, a shift to distribution-based logistics, logistics projection, logistics footprint reduction, agile infrastructure, and asset visibility, initiatives now fundamental to successful logistics operations.
Arbuckle commanded Letterkenny Army Depot at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, from 1992 to 1994. As part of his efforts to streamline customer service, he realigned responsibility for 18 missile maintenance systems and consolidated all depot level missile maintenance at Letterkenny. From 1995 to 1997, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Ammunition, AMC, Alexandria, Virginia. In 1997, Arbuckle assumed command of the US Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, New Jersey. While there, he was detailed to serve as J-4, Joint Ground Force Kuwait during Operation Desert Thunder II, the largest multinational force assembled in Kuwait since Desert Storm. At the conclusion of the operation, he took command of the Joint Ground Task Force, which included an Army and a Marine brigade, and prepared the force for redeployment.
In 1998, Arbuckle assumed command of the US Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC) at Rock Island, Illinois, with a mandate from the AMC Commanding General to implement RML concepts. Much to his credit, he transformed the IOC from its wholesale, industrial focus to the full spectrum of logistics readiness and support. This successful transformation led to the redesignation of IOC as the US Army Operations Support Command. In 2000, Major General Arbuckle retired after 30 years of dedicated service. His legacy is evident in the latest logistics concepts and doctrine that sustain our forces.