500th MI honors retires of 181 combined service years

| December 18, 2012 | 0 Comments
Department of Army civilians (from left) Scott Kennedy, Bernice Takushi, William Zentner, Sharon Watanbe and Steve Nihiser gather in front of the flag post after completing their retirement ceremony, held on Palm Circle, Friday.

Department of Army civilians (from left) Scott Kennedy, Bernice Takushi, William Zentner, Sharon Watanbe and Steve Nihiser gather in front of the flag post after completing their retirement ceremony, held on Palm Circle, Friday.

Story and photo by
Staff Sgt. David Padilla
500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — With a combined 181 years of civil service, members of the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade’s Department of the Army civilian staff were recognized during a retirement ceremony at Palm Circle, here, Friday.

Steve Nihiser, chief of operations, was among those honored at the ceremony after a relationship with the U.S. Army spanning more than five decades.

“I enjoyed the opportunities the U.S. Army has afforded me, first as an Army military dependent and then as an active-duty officer, DAC (Dept. of the Army civilian) and U.S. Army Reserve officer,” Nihiser said. “I have been a part of the Army for over 56 years.”

Nihiser started his career in 1978 when he enlisted into the U.S. Army Military Police Officer Corps. During his time, he served in various positions in the active and reserve components, and retired as an Army Reserve colonel in December 2005.

While a reservist in 1992, Nihiser began his DAC career as an exercise plans specialist. This tour led to various assignments in Japan. He started as an exercise plans specialist, rising to a military plans specialist in 2003. His time spent in Asia not only gave him the opportunity to live in a part of the world he loved, but it also gave him the opportunity to meet his wife.

MP Steve Nihiser back in the day. (Photo courtesy of Steve Nihiser.)

MP Steve Nihiser back in the day. (Photo courtesy of Steve Nihiser.)

“I met my late wife, Suni, while an active-duty officer stationed at Camp Walker, South Korea,” Nihiser said. “She left a lasting impression on me and my desire to serve in Asia.”

Nihiser’s first job with the 500th MI Bde. came in 2003, when he was selected to be the brigade’s intelligence operations and plans specialist.

“Being a DAC has allowed me to continue to serve, to gain knowledge about Asia and cultures in the Pacific area,” Nihiser said.

Scott Kennedy, 500th MI Bde. civilian personnel officer, also had a long, active role as a DAC. Kennedy started his 37-year DAC career in 1975, as a temporary military personnel clerk for the Human Resources Command (known then as the Military Personnel Command), and was promoted to a team leader within three months.

“The Army allowed me to work in the field I received my degree in,” Kennedy said. “I had so many friends who could not find jobs in their fields of study, and I was able to work in the exact field I trained for.

Kennedy’s assignments took him from Maryland to Germany, to Japan and Hawaii, where he is serving as the 500th MI Bde.’s civilian personnel officer until Dec. 31. For Kennedy, the travel opportunities that came with his job allowed him to become a “citizen of the world” and were a welcome part of his job.

“Not many have a job that allows them to visit so many countries throughout the world,” Kennedy said. “I really do consider myself a citizen of the world.”

In the end, all of the retirees were honored for their accomplishments and civil service contributions, and they look forward to their future opportunities while always remembering their past.

“The next chapter in my life is a new opportunity, but I thank the Army for having me as a part of its team,” Nihiser said. “I will miss lots in the job, but mostly the people.”

Also honored at the ceremony were Bernice Takushi, program analyst, with 37 years of service; Sharon Watanabe, resource management officer, with 43 years of service; and William Zentner, information technology director, with 44 years of service.

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