Major General Gary Wattnem was born in Estelline, South Dakota on July 23, 1946. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from South Dakota State University where he received an ROTC commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1969. Major General Gary Wattnem entered active duty in April 1969 and attended the Transportation Officer Basic Course at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He then served a tour of duty at the Eastern Area Military Traffic Management and Terminal Service in Brooklyn, New York. During 1970 and 1971 he served in Vietnam with the 71 st Transportation Battalion at Long Binh, Republic of Vietnam.
Major General Gary Wattnem entered the Active Reserve in November 1971. His assignments include Company Commander, 404th Signal Company, Waterloo, lowa and Signal Officer, 394th Ammo Battalion, Ames, lowa. He then was assigned to the 103d Corps Support Command where he held a number of positions including Communications-Electronics Officer; Executive Officer, Special Troops Battalion; Secretary, General Staff; Plans Officer; Movement Control Officer; Commander, Special Troops Battalion and Assistant Chief of Staff, Transportation. He then was selected as Commander, 56th Material Management Center at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. In September 1993, he became the Chief of Staff,19th Theater Army Area Command (CONUS Augmentation) in Des Moines, lowa. In August 1996, he assumed command of the 3d Corps Support Command (CONUS Augmentation) in Des Moines, lowa.
Major General Gary Wattnem's military decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Service Stars, Army Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Major General Gary Wattnem's military education includes the Transportation Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Signal Officer Advanced Course, Combat Service Support Pre-Command Course, Reserve Components National Security Course and the Support Command Refresher Course. He is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Associate Logistics Executive Development Course and the Army War College. Major General Gary Wattnem's civilian occupation is Regional Sales Manager of Central North America for the Ophthalmic Instrument Division of Leica, Inc.
General Wattnem and his wife, Vicki, reside in Mason City, lowa. They have two married daughters, Melissa Mahoney and Jina Long.