ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. –
Four Soldiers completed their distinguished careers with their participation in the installation quarterly retirement ceremony here Sept. 27 in Heritage Hall. The event paid tribute to a combined 104 years of national service for the Soldiers.
The ceremony was hosted by Maj. Gen. David Wilson, commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, and senior mission commander, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Sgt. Maj. Felix Lassus, acting ASC command sergeant major, Support Operations sergeant major, assisted Wilson in the presentation of awards.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kevin Niehoff, ASC, provided the invocation.
Wilson presented the Soldiers with awards, certificates, U.S. flags and pins recognizing their accomplishments during their careers. Their family members present at the ceremony also received certificates and recognition, including the Army’s “BRAT” certificate for the children. BRAT is an oxymoron acronym that stands for Bravery, Resiliency, Adaptability, and Tolerance.
Retirees included Lt. Col. Patric Nichols, 36 years, chief, Plans Division, First U.S. Army; 1st Sgt. Linda Lee-Tucker, 28 years, Operations sergeant major, 108th Training Command, U.S. Army Reserve; Sgt. 1st Class Gayle McGary, 20 years, Materiel Management noncommissioned officer, U.S. Army Sustainment Command; and, Sgt. 1st Class Joel O’Malley, 20 years, Sexual Assault Response coordinator, RIA and ASC.
Wilson emphasized the family’s role in the success of a Soldier and said this ceremony was for them. It is the family, he said, that makes a Soldier “Army Strong.”
“Just as the Army relies on our Soldiers, our Soldiers rely on their families and loved ones. You’re the foundation that helps make this Army the best the world has ever seen,” he said.
Wilson said career Soldiers have missed out on important events such as holidays, birthdays, weddings, and other special events. “All have sacrificed something in order to carry out their duties,” he said.
He added retiring Soldiers leave a legacy in the Army that is immeasurable.
“What they gave us cannot just be measured in years; we can also measure it in the positive impact that they had on the careers and lives of those they served alongside of during their distinguished military careers. They are and will be Soldiers for Life.”
Nichols’ years in service includes 11 in the National Guard and 25 in the Regular Army. He is a native of Moline, Illinois, and plans to settle back in the area known as Quad Cities. Nichols was awarded the Legion of Merit.
In the retirees’ biography slides shown before the ceremony, Nichols wrote: “I would like to thank the Department of the Army Civilians, Soldiers, NCOs and officers for support, guidance and mentorship. Without it, I would never have made it this far.”
He went on thank his wife and family for their “endowed support and love. You are the reason I do what I do.”
Lee-Tucker is also a native of the Quad Cities and has served in the Army Reserve and Active Army. Lee-Tucker was presented the Meritorious Service Medal.
She wrote her favorite leadership philosophy is “Lead with Love,” and her favorite quote is “Change in All Things is Sweet.”
McGary, a logistics specialist, plans to be the manager of her own freight transportation company she recently launched. McGary was also presented the Meritorious Service Medal.
She wrote: “I’m humbly grateful for God’s grace in every task, mission and assignment. Every ounce of my motivation derived from Quinterral and Quinton, my children, and my country is why I served.”
O’Malley said his family is the most important thing in the world to him. He plans to work part time and enjoy more time with his family. O’Malley was also presented the Meritorious Service Medal.
He wrote: “My family is my biggest motivator and the reason I am here today. Between my wife pushing me to be my best and being the best father to my daughters, my family is what I live for.”
The ceremony concluded with two songs – “The Army Song” and “Old Soldiers Never Die.”