Military People

Stantons lead lives of service

In the Stanton household, selfless service wears many hats and spills outside Fort Gordon’s gates in different ways.

Selfless service is one of the seven core Army values, and it is fully embraced by not only Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, Commanding General, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, but by his wife, Nomi, who supports soldiers and their families as well as works to help Augusta’s homeless population in her role as executive director of GAP Ministries.

“I like to be hands-on, very hands-on. I think every single human needs a cheerleader,” said Mrs. Stanton. “In my current job, I get that opportunity every single day. Some days, my day can be derailed by one person, but it’s OK if I get that person what they need. That’s true on post and off post.”

Read More: GAP Ministries serves area homeless

The Stantons have worked as a team his entire 28-year military career. The high school sweethearts met in Highland Park, Ill., when his dad was stationed at Fort Sheridan, a base that has since closed. The son of a career soldier, Maj. Gen. Stanton knew that the military would be his career early on.

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“My parents were cleaning out their basement and found a picture I drew when I was 6 — of me as a soldier. I knew from the beginning,” said Maj. Gen. Stanton, who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1995.

His first duty station was in Italy, where a young Mrs. Stanton learned quickly about adapting to whatever Army life threw her.

“He spent three months in the field right after we arrived,” she said.

They lived near a little Italian village, and it was a culture shock for Mrs. Stanton.

“The first person who spoke Italian to me – I ran; it terrified me,” she said. “I decided to just embrace this and roll with it.”

“That’s the hallmark of a military spouse,” Maj. Gen. Stanton said. “Being forced into unfamiliar situations and having to figure it out.”

From left, Nomi and Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton relax at home with their dog. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

But no matter how many times someone is forced into a situation, change doesn’t always come easily, as Mrs. Stanton attests. She wasn’t exactly thrilled when he first got orders to Fort Gordon.

“I came here kicking and screaming,” she said. “The last time we were in Georgia,  I was pregnant with my oldest. I literally remember saying to him, ‘Knock me out with a frying pan, raise the baby, I love you, you can do it.’”

The couple was at Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning) their first time in Georgia, and the oppressive summer heat was one of the major turnoffs for her.

Mrs. Stanton believes that a person’s attitude makes the difference. With their three children watching her, she adopted the philosophy she always has and jumped into the community where she was placed.  

That was eight years ago. Prior to becoming Fort Gordon’s commanding general in June 2021, he served as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations), U.S. Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon. Also, the family stayed in the area during an assignment he had at Fort Meade, Md. All three of the Stantons’ children, Hannah Leigh, Charlotte Elise and Toby Harris, graduated from Lakeside High School.

And Mrs. Stanton is glad to have been placed in the community.

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“I really love it. There are so many good human beings helping other people,” she said.

Her commitments outside the gates don’t take away from her devotion to soldiers and their families.

“She’s very active on Fort Gordon in everything from spouse engagements to Army Community Service to events that the installation does,” Maj. Gen. Stanton said.

And he sees her involvement in the outside community as being important to fostering a good quality of life for his soldiers and their families.

“Quality of life is a readiness issue in the Army,” he said. “And much of the quality of life for our soldiers is in the community. Some of them live on post, but many of them live in Grovetown, Evans, in Richmond County. The community can be a draw and attract people.”

Quality of life is an important factor in Army retention, and soldiers are Maj. Gen. Stanton’s top priority. He leads the Cyber Center of Excellence at a pivotal time in the history of both Fort Gordon and the Signal Corps. Retaining those leaders is vital to his mission.

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“I think that we’re undergoing a significant transformation on Fort Gordon right now,” he said. “Everything from the Signal Towers coming down to building a new campus to changing the name of the installation to changing the way that the Signal Corps is going to fight in the future to evolving electronic warfare capabilities. But we’re shoulder to shoulder in all of these very significant, big ideas for the Army, and that’s our shared sacrifice right now. Thank goodness, we’re not deployed in combat, but what we’re doing is shoulder to shoulder driving a transformation and a modernization and building friendships and relationships along the way.”

Fort Gordon will change its name to Fort Eisenhower in October.

And he sees that the surrounding community is undergoing its own transformation.

“When you look at downtown Augusta, it’s changing for the better because of the efforts of folks like Nomi who are at the ground level and are making significant contributions,” he said.

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What the future holds for the Stantons, the Army knows. The couple may be in Fort Gordon until next summer, but they don’t know. That next step depends on what the Army orders.

Until then, they will stay immersed in their communities upholding those Army values

“Selfless service is an Army value, and generally speaking, those in uniform marry folks that share hose values. And so, there are countless opportunities to materialize and express your selflessness through volunteerism — and that is inside the fence line and certainly outside,” Maj. Gen. Stanton said.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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