Retirees look back on years of dedicated Army service

| March 29, 2013 | 0 Comments
Col. Frank Tate (right), commander, 25th CAB, 25th ID, presents Sgt. 1st Class Walter Flinn, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th ID, an American flag as a symbol of Flinn's dedicated service to his country during a retirement ceremony, March 19.

Col. Frank Tate (right), commander, 25th CAB, 25th ID, presents Sgt. 1st Class Walter Flinn, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th ID, an American flag as a symbol of Flinn’s dedicated service to his country during a retirement ceremony, March 19.

Story and photos by
Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Nineteen officers and noncommissioned officers of the 25th Infantry Division and their family members were commemorated for their service to the Army during a retirement ceremony, here, March 19.

Retirees received a retirement award, a letter of appreciation signed by President Barack Obama and a retirement certificate and lapel pin to acknowledge and honor their service.

Also, retirees’ families were presented Hawaiian lei and certificates of appreciation in recognition for their dedication and support to their service member.

“The ceremony was a great way to finish my military career,” said Master Sgt. Jorge Ortiz, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID, who served 20 years in the Army.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Ettleman, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB, 25th ID, smiles as he receives a lei from his daughter, Haily, prior to the retirement ceremony.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Ettleman, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB, 25th ID, smiles as he receives a lei from his daughter, Haily, prior to the retirement ceremony.

“The Army has been good to me during my time,” Ortiz said. “It was the best decision I made. I would do it all again.”

During the ceremony, some of the retirees shared their favorite memories of their distinguished careers.

“I was first eligible in 2001 to retire,” recalled Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael LaGrave, 25th Combat Aviation Bde., 25th ID. “When 9/11 happened, there was no question I would continue to serve. I wanted to give back to the Army by mentoring and helping train junior aviators.”

Some retirees, such as LaGrave, will look to new careers following their military service.

“I have a job as a helicopter tour pilot lined up after I retire,” LaGrave said. “I will stay open to anything that may happen, because you never know what the future holds.”

After the ceremony, the retirees conversed with co-workers and colleagues about their time in the Army.

“During my 20-year career, I have deployed several times — jumped out of airplanes, hung below helicopters and paddled down rivers,” Ortiz recalled.

“Being in the Army has provided me with so many opportunities, physically, mentally and spiritually,” Ortiz added.

Each officer and NCO departed the ceremony with 20 or more years of service, with their heads held high.

Officers and NCOs from the 25th ID stand proud in front of their families and colleagues with their American flags, symbolizing their successes with passing through the ranks and completing dedicated service to their country.

Officers and NCOs from the 25th ID stand proud in front of their families and colleagues with their American flags, symbolizing their successes with passing through the ranks and completing dedicated service to their country.

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