QUANTICO, Va. –
Retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Edward C. Reilly was commemorated for his 40-year U.S. Army career by a U.S. Army Reserve Honor Guard at his gravesite at the National Memorial Cemetery at Quantico on Nov. 11, 2023. The honor guard bugler played Taps, followed by a ceremonial folding of the flag, which was presented to Reilly’s son in remembrance of Reilly’s contributions to the U.S. Army Reserve.
Reilly enlisted in 1949 and began basic training weeks after graduating high school. He served in an active-duty capacity for four years, much of which was overseas in Tokyo and Korea. In 1956 he enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserve and rose to the role of command sergeant major for the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve (OCAR), which he held from September 1985 to August 1986.
During that period, Reilly focused his attention on supporting female Soldiers becoming drill sergeants and noncommissioned officers and improving education opportunities for enlisted Soldiers pursuing college degrees. He was also passionate about troops obtaining better weapons and weapons training.
In a 2021 interview with U.S. Army Master Sgt. George Picard, Reilly imparted, “to be a good NCO you must listen to your Soldiers, get out with them, and talk to them. I don't mean socializing and stuff like that, but keep adhesion with them and set up programs for them.”
After his tenure at OCAR, Reilly held other Active Guard Reserve roles including Senior Enlisted Advisor to U.S. Army Europe and First Army.
“His prioritization of education opportunities for Soldiers, especially military education, resonates in today’s Army Reserve concept of 'Be all you can be,'” remarked Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Lombardo, command sergeant major of the Army Reserve. “He saw opportunities for personal self-improvement in the force and building up the team, in addition to winning our wars and living the Army values.”
Over the course of his career, Reilly earned numerous awards and decorations, including Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.
Reilly passed Oct. 4, 2023, and was laid to rest with full military honors on Oct. 21, 2023 at the National Memorial Cemetery at Quantico.
“Veterans Day is a day of reflection to recognize all those who have served our great nation, from the Revolutionary War to those who continue to serve today,” Lombardo explained. “It’s especially fitting to celebrate a hero like Command Sgt. Maj. Reilly who cared about Soldiers.”