Family and friends braved the high winds sweeping across Brown Parade Field to honor retirees at the Installation Retirement Ceremony. The quarterly event paid tribute to 21 retirees April 25.
Presiding officer and guest speaker for the ceremony was Col. Daniel J. McFarland, garrison commander of Fort Huachuca. Thanking the 20 active duty military personnel and one Department of Army civilian for their service, he focused on how the retirees went above and beyond answering the call of duty.
“Most important, these honored professionals served during one of our nation’s most trying decades. Many of these individuals could have retired years ago,” McFarland said. “They selflessly remained in uniform though the nation’s call. I’m amazed by the spirit that the Army and Navy culture breeds.”
The honored group served a combined 475 years of federal service. Of those years, McFarland pointed out the time spent overseas. The retirees represented 33 combat tours in Iraq and Afganistan and included other tours to the Balkans, Europe, Asia, Korea, the Middle East and one tour at sea.
“It’s fair to say that these patriots have shined democracy in the four corners of the globe,” he said.
McFarland also mentioned that since Sept. 11, 2001, the group combined has spent over 30 years in designated combat zones.
“It’s an understatement to say they’ve served their nation well, and again, I thank you,” he said.
Staff Sgt. John Campbell, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, was one of the retirees being honored. His reaction to the ceremony was one of excitement as he states he is ready for a new life after the military, starting a career in real estate investment.
“I think it’s a well-earned time that I’ve spent in the service, and I’m ready to venture out on a new adventure,” Campbell said.
He served multiple overseas duties in countries including Italy, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kuwait. During his Army career, Campbell has previously earned 19 awards and decorations.
For Chief Warrant Officer Four, Anthony Sanders, Company E, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, he sees his retirement differently. He explained that although it feels great and exciting to retire, he’s not ready to leave yet.
“I still want to serve my country and work for the government, so I’m trying to get in with the border patrol’s air and marine division,” Sanders said.
He served two overseas assignments in South Korea, one tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one combat tour in Iraq and one in Afganistan. Sanders previously earned 18 awards and decorations.
Both Campbell and Sanders retired after 22 years of service.
The honored professionals stood in front of a crowd of loved ones and friends to receive an awarded medal or civilian service award, a certificate of appreciation, a certificate of retirement and retirement flag.
The Installation Retirement Ceremony’s host unit was the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and included 10 other participating units.