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NEWS | Jan. 25, 2018

A lifetime of service continues for retiree

By Maj. Marvin Baker 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Friends old and new gathered at the headquarters of the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, Jan. 10, 2018, to honor Dr. Elaine Berkowitz, a dentist and lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve until 2012.

Berkowitz left the unit and the Army Reserve more than five years ago but unfortunately did not receive her official retirement award and ceremony from the unit until the oversight was corrected by Brig. Gen. Robert Harter, the commander of the 316th ESC, who also officiated the ceremony.

Before Berkowitz joined the Army Reserve in 1974, she worked as a dental assistant and while teaching the subject to high school students one day, she was told that a colonel was coming in to talk to her and the students. “I thought we were getting Kentucky Fried Chicken,” Berkowitz said as she kidded with the ceremony audience during her speech about her first introduction to the Army Reserve. She said the officer talked to her about the military and encouraged her to join. “I enlisted at age 30 as a dental assistant and the rest is history,” Berkowitz said.

Berkowitz’s military history spans four decades. After 13 years in the enlisted ranks, she earned a commission in the medical corps and served as an Army dentist for 25 years. She deployed three times to Kosovo and once to Iraq. Her service in the military brought a distinct and pleasurable experience to everyone she touched. According to friends in the audience, even after her retirement, Elaine came to see Soldiers in Kuwait during their deployment in 2016.

“I loved every minute of my time in the military,” Berkowitz said. “I have always been patriotic and it is hard to explain, but I had many significant events happen to me during the military,” she added.

Since her departure from the military in 2012, Berkowitz continues to serve people. She works part-time treating elderly and special-needs patients in nursing homes and private facilities she said. She also participates with Reserve Officer Association and Veterans organization events in her community. Even now at 73, she said she has no plans of slowing down. “I guess someday I will have to really retire, but I enjoy doing these kinds of things. Some people retire after they have had enough, but it was never enough for me,” she said.

Berkowitz said she loves to travel and will spend her future serving others and visiting every continent in the world.