224 YEARS OF SERVICE

108th TC Bids Farewell to Retirees

01/28/2018  |  By SPC Tynisha Daniel
The Griffon
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Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) and Sgt. Maj. Paula James congratulate six retiring U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers during a ceremonial celebration of service on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On November 4, 2017, family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together at 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training), for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation.

The 108th celebration of service ceremony recognizes Soldiers for their distinguished service to U.S. Army and the Nation as they prepare to transition into civilian careers or fully retire. This was the second celebration held to honor service members during fiscal year 2017.

“Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually challenged for 224 collective years of service, each of our honorees swore that they would uphold and the defend the Constitution of the United States of America; today we acknowledge and recognize six American Soldiers rendering their final salute to a grateful nation,” said Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general of the 108th Training Command.

The 108th has been instrumental in providing quality training to Soldiers from all Army components for more than 60 years.

While the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) belongs to the Army Reserve, it is operationally controlled by Training and Doctrine Command, which oversees of 32 Army Schools and trains more than 500,000 Soldiers and service members annually.

Retiree Msg. John Tate is congratulated with a certificate of appreciation from   Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training). Family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined 224 years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel Retiree Col. John Vernick is congratulated with The Meritorious Service award from   Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training). Family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined 224 years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel

 

The retirees honored were Col. John Vernic, Maj. Randy Cook, Master Sgt. John Tate, Master Sgt. Jerry Williams, Sgt. 1st Class Silvia Jones-Wallace, and Staff Sgt. Wanda Barron.

Over the course of the celebration, McQueen spoke to the audience about how these noteworthy Soldier’s careers have impacted the U.S. Army Reserve, addressed how their devotion made the Army better, and personally thanked each of the honorees for the sacrifices they and their families had.

Staff Sgt. Wanda Barron is congratulated with a certificate of appreciation from   Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training). Family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined 224 years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel Sgt. First Class Silvia Jones-Wallace is congratulated with a certificate of appreciation from Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training). Family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined 224 years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel

 

“The mission continues,” said McQueen addressing the formation. “It is to the men and women standing in formation today to accept the torch from these six who transition to retirement from active service, it is to those in formation to take which each of these who committed a lifetime to preserving and now protect that which they gave blood sweat and tears for, we must ready ourselves to face the uncertain challenges of tomorrow."

Retiree Msg. Jerry Williams is congratulated with a certificate of appreciation from   Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training). Family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined 224 years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel Retiree Maj. Randy Cook is congratulated with The Meritorious Service award from   Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commanding general for 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training). Family, friends, and colleagues of six U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers came together for a ceremonial expression of appreciation and gratitude for their combined 224 years of federal service to the U.S. Army and the nation on Nov 4, 2017. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel

 

Each retiree received an opportunity to give their final remarks with many leading to emotional speeches. They shared their individual military histories, the sacrifices that their families gave in support of their service, and they shared what they will miss most about the Army.

“To our honored retirees, you are changing a season, you will always be able to be branded with the moniker of being known as a Veteran, we are thankful for each of you and your contribution to the American way of life,” said McQueen.

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