Honoring Five for their 20 Plus

11/21/2018  |  By Capt. Adrienne Bryant
The Griffon
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Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford, commanding general of the 95th Training Division, presents Lt. Col. Jeffrey Crain a retirement award as he stands besides his wife on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

On May 19 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma, five 95th Training Division service members retired during a joint retirement ceremony hosted by the division headquarters.

The ceremony honored the careers of Chaplain Dale M. Nelson, Lt. Col. Nathaniel R. Cox, Lt. Col. Jeffrey I. Crain, Command Sgt. Major Knute K. Weick, and Sgt. 1st Class Ferdinand Muniz-Cintron all of whom served at least 20 years of active federal service.

Many Soldiers, Family members, friends and former members of the division filled Snow Hall to honor the retirees. Retired Maj. Gen. Jim Archer and Douglas Dollar, both former commanders within the division, were in attendance as well.

Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford, commanding general of the 95th TD, presided over the retirement ceremony and expressed his gratitude of the service of both the service members who were soon to retire and their loved ones who were present with them that day.

“We are recognizing here today that they have borne many burdens, they have  walked many miles, worked long hours and spent long periods of time, years sometimes, away from family and away from home all because our nation asked it of them, ” said Bassford.

Sgt. 1st Class Ferdinand Muniz-Cintron was the first Soldier to receive his retirement honors. Muniz is a native of Yauco, Puerto Rico and started his military career by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1977 and served as an infantryman in Okinawa, Japan. After a short break he decided to join the Army Reserve where he was to serve in the 95th TD until his retirement.

Lt. Col. Dale Nelson, former 95th Training Division Chaplain, shares memories and words of wisdom with soldiers of the division on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

Lt. Col. Nathaniel Cox receives a Meritorious Service Medal for his military service during a retirement ceremony on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

Command Sgt. Maj. Knute Weick sharing his reflections from a 42 year military career during his retirement ceremony on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford, commanding general of the 95th Training Division, presenting Sgt. 1st Class Ferdinand Muniz-Cintron his Certificate of Retirement alongside his daughter during a ceremony on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

Sgt. 1st Class Ferdinand Muniz-Cintron, Chaplain Dale Nelson, Command Sgt. Maj. Knute Weick, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Crain, and Lt. Col. Nathaniel Cox gathered at a reception held in honor of their retirement on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

Command Sgt. Maj. John Stumph, Command Sergeant Major of the 95th Training Division, stands beside retired Command Sgt. Maj. Knute Weick during at reception on May 19, 2018 at Snow Hall on Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Photo by Capt. Adrienne Bryant

“During my 32 years of service I’ve met a lot of great people and it’s a shame that I have to go at this time but I still had a lot of fun,” said Muniz.

Muniz presented a bouquet of flowers to his daughter who joined him on stage to receive his honors.

The next Soldier to be honored was Command Sgt. Maj. Knute Weick who enlisted in November of 1975. He served three years active duty, 18 years in the Iowa National Guard and 21 years in the Army Reserve. During his final years of military service, Weick served as the chief advisor on all enlisted Soldier matters for both the Basic Combat Training and Infantry One Station Unit Training.  Weick offered sound advice to the Soldiers that stood before him in the audience.

“Make sure you’re the Soldier that you need to be for this nation, for this Army, for the people of the United States that put so much into your service,” explains Weick. “Make sure you’re the best leader and best Soldier you could possibly be before you go out there and lead Soldiers because they’re depending on you.”

Weick says all of this in true senior noncommissioned officer fashion, from center stage sans microphone, commanding the attending of the room with his presence.  Weick shared the stage with his wife and daughter and presented them both bouquets of flowers to express his gratitude of their support over his 42 year career.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Crain approached the stage next to receive his retirement honors. Crain commissioned in 1994 as a field artillery officer from Davidson College, in Davidson, NC. He serviced six years on active duty before transferring to the Reserve component. A lot of his reserve career was with 3rd Battalion, 290th Regiment, a training support battalion based in Oklahoma City and Mustang, OK.  Crain deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as the Division Inspector General and 1st Brigade’s S-1 and finally the Deputy Commander from 2012-2017.

Crain congratulated his fellow Soldiers on their retirement and thanked them for the similar sacrifices to this nation that he’s made. He shared reflections on the meaning of his service with the attendees.

“Thomas Paine said , ‘those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it’,” shares Crain.

“For over 250 years now, this nation has been blessed by those who accepted the challenge willingly and vigorously,” explains Crain.

Crain had many family members and friends in attendance, but invited his wife to share the stage with him so he could present her a bouquet of flowers for his appreciation.

Lt. Col. Nathanial Cox, who was most recently serving as the Division G-1, enlisted in 1990 as 71L, administrative specialist. He entered the ROTC program at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK in 1992 and later commissioned in 1994 into the Adjutant General Corps. Cox served as platoon leader and company commander at the 841st AG Company in Tulsa, OK until he mobilized to Europe in 1996 in support of Operation Joint Guard serving in Germany and Bosnia. He served as the Detachment commander of the 328th Personnel Services Battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas before ultimately ending up back in the Oklahoma area to find his way serving in the 75th Training Division and the 95th Training Division.

“I thank everybody, thanks to my family,” says Cox. “Thanks for supporting me, I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Cox invited his wife and daughter on stage to share his retirement honors.

The final Soldier honored with retirement that day was Lt. Col. Dale Nelson who served his final military years as the division chaplain. Chaplain Nelson enlisted in 1977 as Infantry serving on Active Duty until 1980. He returned to military service in 1992 as a Wisconsin National Guardsman and later commissioned in 1997 as a Chaplain. Nelson deployed to Kosovo in 2006 and soon after his return transferred to the Army Reserve. Nelson also deployed to Iraq in Dec 2010 and again to Joint Base Balad in 2011.

“I remember coming home and saying, ‘dear it looks like there’s other people out there and I could get out of this one’ and she said that’s not the way we play it, “ said Nelson speaking of his wife’s support of his career over the years.

“And so I reach out to you that are out there to say that our nation needs you, reach to those that are there to support you, serve it with everything you have,” says Nelson as he imparts his final words to the Soldiers of the division, “then you’ll have an honor that you can have in the end.”

Chaplain Nelson shared the stage with his daughter and also closed the ceremony with the benediction.

The 77th Army Band located on Fort Sill provided all the music for the ceremony.

Each of the retirees received Meritorious Service Medals, Certificates of Appreciation from the President of the United States, Certificates of Appreciation from the Chief of Staff of the Army Reserve, Certificates of Retirement, folded American flags, and 95th Division Lifetime Membership Certificates.

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