There comes a time at the end of every military member’s career when he or she hangs up the uniform and starts a new chapter in life. For nine individuals, that transition started with the quarterly installation retirement ceremony on Brown Parade Field Friday.
Eleven units participated in the event including the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence as the host unit. Col. Steven Keller, Network Enterprise Technology Command, served as guest speaker.
Keller’s speech emphasized that many different men and women from diverse backgrounds join the military, and the principal theme is one of character and commitment.
“You are stronger, prouder and more capable as a direct result of your service. We have a proud saying that you can always tell a person who served in the military not by their [bearing] but by the depth of their character,” Keller said. “The strength that you have gained inside, because you served, will be with you wherever you may go.”
While his speech went on to praise the retirees for their commitment and sacrifice, Keller continued focusing on diversity in another way; introducing the retiring Soldiers and Airman and their individual contributions. The audience was able to learn something about each retiree during the guest speaker’s remarks.
Keller explained why certain retirees decided to join the Army.
“Sergeant First Class Irmon Tippy will tell you for him, it was the honorable thing to do, as his father also served 23 years,” he said. “Captain Promotable Marlow Taylor will tell you he just wanted to give back to his country.”
Tippy’s last assignment was as the platoon sergeant for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Battalion, Company E, 2-13th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade. Taylor’s previous assignment was instructor/writer for the Military Captains Career Course, Company A, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Keller let the nine military personnel know although they will leave active service, memories and relationships will never be lost.
“The great experiences and friendships that have resulted … will be with you for the rest of your lives,” he said. “[These include] experiences such as [that of Sergeant First Class] Antonio Mesa, who supported wounded Soldiers transitioning from Iraq and Afghanistan and took care of their Families while at Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany.”
Mesa’s previous assignment was senior human resources sergeant, 2-13th Avn. Regt., 1st Aviation Bde.
Guest speaker Keller pointed out the careers of Maj. Jason Campbell, U.S. Air Force, and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Cornell, NETCOM G3, were in information technology. Keller explained that Campbell served in a joint role with other services for the last 18 years supporting change in information technology and ensuring service interoperability. Cornell was selected as the Army lead of Information Technology Service Management while the Enterprise service assisted him.
Other retirees mentioned during Keller’s remarks were Sgt. 1st Class Keith Isom, Headquarters and Headquarters Company USAICoE, who helped young personnel with career decisions. Keller said Staff Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, Company D, 2-13th Aviation Regt., 1st Avn. Bde., loved his time working with special operations forces and enjoyed the level and intensity of the mission as well as the camaraderie and brotherhood.
The audience also learned about Staff Sgt. Lars Claassen, who enjoyed taking care of Soldiers, teaching, coaching and mentoring. Keller stated Staff Sgt. Fairrena Locklear was thankful for her time with the Engineer Corps that made her stronger and proud to serve both her country and the Navajo nation as a warrior.
Claassen’s last assignment was Operations and Plans noncommissioned officer, HHC, 710th Brigade Support Bn., 3rd Bde., 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Locklear was previously assigned as senior wheel mechanic for Company B, 40th Expeditionary Signal Bn., 11th Signal Bde.
The retirees’ cumulative service contributions totaled more than 190 years, including 23 years of combat experience.