August 21, 2016 –
FORT DOUGLAS, Utah – In a retirement ceremony held Sunday, Maj. Gen. Ricky Waddell, Commanding General of the 76th Operational Response Command (ORC), recognized Master Sgt. Stephen Peters for his more than 40 years of service to the U.S. Army and the nation.
“These occasions are always bitter-sweet. I think that they’re happy and joyous occasion to celebrate completion of long tenures service; in this case 42 years,” said Waddell. It is also bitter because we are saying goodbye to one member of our family in the unit, and we will miss him very much.
Peters enlisted in the Army in February 1974, as an infantryman, and started his career in Fort Polk, Louisiana. While on active duty, he served with distinction in a number of positions of responsibility and authority eventually transferring to the Army Reserves in June of 1979. During his career, Peters has deployed to eleven different countries, some multiple times, to train and train with those countries’ military and special operations units. Peters and his wife Jo-Ann have been married for 33 years and have five children together, four of which are currently serving in the military. The fifth and only daughter is serving a mission for their church in Arkansas.
“Our choice to serve from the heart imposes a cost of those we love and those who love us. Therefore, at times like this when we would like to recognize the spouses who were drafted in to the service by your choice, and not their choices, and the children who were born in to it, not their choice, but yours. However, they also sacrificed because of what you did. So at times like this, we would like to give a round of applause to those stakeholders,” said Waddell.
Waddell presented the Certificate of Retirement from the Army, the Presidential Certificate of Appreciation, the Certificate of Appreciation from the Army Reserves, and the Army lapel pin to Peters. Waddell also presented the Army Certificate of Appreciation to Mrs. Peters for her contributions in support of her husband’s career. Peters’ children presented him a sword as a gift for his years of service and dedication.
“As a Veteran there are in fact a couple of obligations I would suggest to you; one of those is to remember and the other is to remind. Your obligation is to remember those who served and the sacrifices they made and of course, those that didn’t comeback. And when you show up to those Veteran’s Day celebrations and Memorial Day, your mere presence there will remind people that a great republic created by these founding fathers requires the sacrifice of at least a few people,” said Waddell.
When it was time for Peters to address the audience, tears and emotion were all that was left for him. His wife joined him on stage to comfort her husband and as she had during all those years of sacrifice together.