Missouri Military Academy (MMA) is a place where young men learn to take command of their futures and become leaders. A big part of this transformation comes from MMA’s dedicated deputy commandants who make sure cadets are properly supervised, safe, and successful in reaching their full potential.
From teaching important values to coordinating transportation, from keeping cadets safe to ensuring they are correctly equipped and looking sharp, MMA’s deputy commandants — Deputy Commandant for Support and Quartermaster James Poettker, MMA Class of 2008, and Deputy Commandant for Transportation and Security Jeff Howard — go the extra mile to ensure that cadets are well taken care of.
“The Deputy Commandant positions are key administrative positions addressing the management of essential functions of the Academy in supporting the commandant, academic dean and athletic director,” says MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret). “Both have valuable military experience, with James having a strong background in logistics and Jeff bringing extensive background in law enforcement. This combination of experience and skill sets is extremely important to our daily operations and emergency preparedness at the Academy. They are great leaders and role models for our cadets.”
James Poettker, Deputy Commandant for Support and Quartermaster
MMA alumnus Poettker understands the transformative benefits of life at MMA.
“MMA’s role in the shaping of a young man cannot be understated,” Poettker says. “Due to the resilience cadets build during their time at MMA, they become prepared men of character who are suited to face the realities of life.”
Poettker helps cadets be set up for success during their time at the Academy. “As quartermaster, I make sure the cadets have what they need to succeed and look sharp in their uniforms,” he says. “This includes everything from the initial uniform issue, alterations, sewing patches on letter jackets, uniforms and more.”
Poettker plays a pivotal role in cultivating character and upholding Academy standards. As quartermaster, he directs, designs, controls and manages the quartermaster store and its inventory and operations. The primary function of the store is to equip and outfit cadets and employees in appropriate military attire, ensuring that uniforms are complete and meet the standards and requirements of the commandant. The quartermaster also manages the tailor shop, laundry, canteen and concessions, as well as supervises the employees of each.
Poettker consistently plans and maintains inventory levels to support various programs. Additionally, he is involved in cadet registration events and in the timely shipping of cadet packages. His dedication and attention to detail make him an integral figure in helping cadets uphold Academy standards while fostering strong character development.
Poettker, a captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, has served for 10 years on active duty and the reserves. He holds a B.A. in history from Virginia Military Institute and an MBA from Liberty University. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running and weight training.
Jeff Howard, Deputy Commandant for Transportation and Security
Jeff Howard’s ties to the MMA family are many. Both he and his wife work for the Academy, and his son is an MMA senior this year.
“We see the difference MMA makes in the lives of cadets daily,” Howard says. “I attended a program similar to MMA in high school, so I understand firsthand the importance of the Academy and the impact it has on the lives of young men. I am proud to be a part of a program that empowers these cadets to take command of their futures.”
As deputy commandant for transportation and security, Howard plans, organizes, coordinates and supervises the operations of the Academy vehicles — car, bus and van — fleet; participates in annual budget development and provides accounts for materials, equipment and supplies. He also plans, implements and supervises driver safety training to meet state and federal laws/compliance. Additionally, he coordinates all cadet travel, which includes field trips, athletic events, cadet activities and cadet travel to and from campus. If needed, he also serves as a bus driver and a van/vehicle driver. Howard also coordinates all on-campus security operations and training.
Howard served in the United States Air Force (USAF) for four years and then had an 18-year career in law enforcement. He holds an associate’s degree in aerospace science from USAF and a peace officer license from the Missouri Sheriff Association Academy. In his free time, he enjoys mowing, time at the range and spending time with his family.