Nine Soldiers formally said â€˜farewellâ€™ to the military Friday on historic Brown Parade Field following in the footsteps of thousands of retirees before them who bid â€˜adieuâ€™ to military life on this verdant Fort Huachuca field.
Beneath the blue Arizona sky and in a light breeze, the Soldiers, flanked by spouses, Families and friends, waited for their names to be called for one last round of formal recognition of their combined 226 years of military service.
Following the entrance of the official party and invocation by the post chaplain, the 62nd Army Band played the National Anthem.
Next, the presiding officer and guest speaker, Col. Daniel Machette, director, G5 Network Enterprise Technology Command and Sgt. Maj.Aurora Patterson, NETCOM G-1 command sergeant major, presented the awards after each Soldierâ€™s name was called.
â€œThese are the men and women who like others in the past have stepped up to serve this nation during its times of need,â€ Machette said during his remarks. â€œToday in America, military service is increasingly uncommon in the greater civilian population. Few people today actually join the service, and fewer still stay for a full career,â€ he added.
â€œThe Soldiers here before us have laid the foundation for the success of the next generation, many of whom are being trained right here at Fort Huachuca. It is the unfortunate reality that the need for a strong Army will remain a necessity for some time, but because of these Soldiers here before us, we are assured of that strong future,â€ he said.
Then Machette spoke to the retirees.
â€œAn analogy for you as you transition to your next phase of life. I am an old paratrooper and have felt the shock of the opening parachute, have had a few bounces on landing, but always got up and went off the drop zone. This is what you are about to do, experience the opening shock of transition to a new life, possibly experience a few bounces but like so many before you, you will pick up your parachute and into the future,â€ he said.
As part of the retirement tradition, each Soldier received a certificate of appreciation signed by the President of the United States, a retirement certificate and a retirement flag.
Maj. Mona Audery was last assigned as an automation systems engineer with Fort Huachucaâ€™s U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command â€” Transmission Systems Directorate.
She is retiring after more than 25 years of service. She received a Meritorious Service Medal for her final service.
Audery has two children, Ciara and Xavier. The family plans to reside in Beaumont, Texas.
Maj. Chuepheng Lo spent his final assignment as the chief of police and executive officer for the U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Huachuca. He is retiring after 20 years of service to the U.S. Army and was awarded the Legion of Merit.
Lo and his wife Helen have four children: May, Pheng, Justin and Ashely. The family plans to live in Sacramento, Calif.
Sgt. Maj. David Marbut concluded his military career as the deputy director for the Learning Innovation Office, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.
He retired after a combined total of 30 years of service to the U.S. Army, Navy and Navy Reserves and was presented with a Legion of Merit.
He and his wife Melissa have two children, Kristin and Joel. The Family will live in Athens, Ala.
Master Sgt. Richard Suarez completed his military career as the Battalion S3 noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters company, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade.
He is retiring after 31 years of combined service with the U.S. Army and the National Guard. Suarez was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.
He and his wife Dawana plan to reside in Syracuse, N.Y.
1st Sgt. Gilbert Rubio, Jr. concluded his military career with an assignment as sergeant major for Fort Huachucaâ€™s Directorate of Public Works.
He is retiring after more than 25 years of service with a Legion of Merit.
He and his two sons, Gaston and Nico plan to reside in Sierra Vista.
Sgt. 1st Class Dajuan Groves, Sr. completed his military career as a training developer/instructor for HHC, USAICoE.
He is retiring after nearly 25 years of service and was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.
Groves and his wife Sumie have two children, Dajuan Jr. and Seima. The family will live in Sierra Vista.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Huzzie completed his last military assignment as the rear detachment first sergeant, 206th Aerial Exploitation Battalion, 470th MI Brigade, Fort Hood, San Antonio, Texas.
He is retiring after 21 years of service and received a Legion of Merit.
Huzzie and his wife Jennifer have three children, Heidi, Wesley and Dakota. The Family will reside in Sierra Vista.
Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Preciado concluded her military career as a Geo-Spatial Course writer/review at Training, Doctrine and Support, USAICoE.
She is retiring after more than 25 years of service and was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.
Preciado and her three children, Jasmin, Richard and Rashel will reside in St. Paul, Minn.
Sgt. Jon Watt ended his military career as a section sergeant, Company C, 40th ESB, TTSB.
He is retiring after more than 29 years of combined service with the U.S. Army, National Guard and Army Reserves. He received an Army Commendation Medal.
Watt and his wife Lori have six children: Ken, Wesley, Patrina, Margaret (Maggie), Kaitlyn and Dina. He and his family will live in Sierra Vista.
Following the awards to the retiring Soldiers, spouses or significant others were presented with bouquets of flowers recognizing them for their support of their Soldier. Earlier, each spouse received a certificate of appreciation when the retirees were recognized formally for the last time.
After the colors were retired, the 62nd Army Band played â€œOld Soldiers Never Die,â€ â€œAuld Land Zyneâ€ and â€œThe Army Songâ€ while the audience sang along.
Finally, in keeping with the tradition of the Army cavalry units which are part of Fort Huachucaâ€™s former history, B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial), honored the retirees with a traditional cavalry charge across Brown Parade Field.