CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Retiring from any career field is a monumental accomplishment. They all have ups and downs, but serving in the military for more than 20 years not only affects the Soldier, but their Families. Soldiers endure many sacrifices such as deployments, training events, and changing where their family calls home often but still choose to serve in the Army Reserve while holding civilian careers and managing families. This distinguished accomplishment of service was recognized by the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and Fire Training Academy June 10, 2017.
The retirees honored were: Col. Tony M. Ratliff, Col. Douglas M. Stone, Col. Christopher F. Foxx, Lt. Col. W. Kent Hyde, Lt. Col. Valerie Clay, Jr., Maj. Gerald Taylor, Master Sgt. Kathleen F. Foster, Sgt. 1st Class Emma J. Trabue, Sgt. 1st Class Charlene M. Corpening and Staff Sgt. Edwin Sepulveda.
“These ten American’s didn’t just serve their Nation, they each served with character and dedication that helped to make our Army the greatest fighting force ever assembled,” said Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commander of the 108th Training Command (IET).
“Today brings to close long and distinguished careers of six officers and four noncommissioned officers that total 222 years of service,” McQueen said. “If we put 222 years on a timeline and look back, we wind up in 1795 when the United States was a fledgling democracy and was just stepping out on its journey to be the great Nation we are today.”
Some Soldiers retire with small farewells; others are honored in a larger ceremony. Taylor, who brought his mother and young son, said this ceremony means a lot to him.
“It celebrates the sacrifices that you made,” Taylor said. “I still work for the military in a civilian capacity so I’ll still be around. This just marks the ending of one journey and the continuation of another.” Like Taylor, many of the retirees will continue to serve the Army but as a civilian.
While the Army Reserve retired ten Soldiers, McQueen said that the void of their loss will be felt but had a message for everyone else. “Those of you that still have time to serve, we still have room for you in the formation, please don’t ever forget that.”
While Taylor and his fellow retirees celebrate the end of their military careers, the journey is just beginning for others.