Two OC&S leaders hailed during Retirement Retreat Ceremony
May 25, 2009
The U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools bid farewell to two respected leaders during a Retirement Retreat Ceremony at Ordnance Circle May 12.
Col. Michael T. McBride, OC&S deputy commander and chief of staff, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Bray of the 16th Ordnance Battalion formally ended their military careers that totaled 60 years during the event that culminated with an 11-gun Howitzer salute and retreat ceremony in their honor.
Brig. Gen. Lynn Collyar, commander of OC&S and chief of Ordnance, presided over the ceremony and presented awards.
McBride was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Presidential Certificate of Appreciation from President Barack Obama and the Department of the Army Certificate of Retirement from Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. He also was presented with a sword signed by Maj. Gen. James Chambers, commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, Va., and a U.S. flag that was flown over the 61st Ordnance Brigade headquarters.
His wife Ruth received a DA Certificate of Appreciation from Gen. Casey and the Commander's Award for Public Service from Collyar.
Bray was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Presidential Certificate of Appreciation from President Barack Obama and the DA Certificate of Retirement from Gen. Casey. He also was presented with a U.S. flag from the 61st Ordnance Brigade.
Noting the numerous ceremonies that took place during the previous Ordnance Week, Collyar said that none were "more important than today's farewell." He said that McBride and Bray served together over the years and that both had done "everything that could be asked of an officer and an NCO."
"There's something about being a Soldier and a leader that truly represents these two," Collyar said. "They're going to take their uniforms off but their legacy will remain here, and I know that there are even more Soldiers out there who got to grow and learn due to their leadership. Thank you both for a job well done. It has been an honor and privilege serving with you."
McBride thanked Collyar and said he was honored to serve with him, OC&S Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Eubanks and OC&S Regimental Chief Warrant Officer 5 Arthur G. Dahl IV.
"We made a remarkable regimental team," he said.
He said that although he was proud to serve he was looking forward to moving on.
"My career has been about the opportunity to work with smart, dedicated, selfless people," he said, adding that he was proud to share the field with Bray who he has known for 20 years.
"I am grateful to end my career here at Aberdeen Proving Ground where I cut my teeth as a young ordnance officer," he said. "I am proud of my wife and proud of my boys, Tyler and Aeden, for enduring far too many separations. The decision to retire is made much easier by the smiles on your faces as we prepare for the next chapter of our adventures.
"God bless you all for coming. It's been a great ride. I ask you all to keep those deployed into harm's way in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you and go Ordnance," he concluded.
McBride's retirement plans include moving to New Jersey and taking a position with Homeland Defense.
Bray thanked the command "for this outstanding retirement ceremony."
He devoted much of his remarks to his Family members in attendance who included his parents, Douglas and Leartis brothers and his siblings who include three other career Soldiers.
"It has been an honor to serve with such great leaders in this organization," he said. "However, I would like to dedicate this day to my parents ... for an awesome job as parents."
He thanked his father for "instilling the value of hard, honest work and the never-quit attitude," and his mother for the "awesome job raising a thick headed kid like me."
He also expressed his love to his sons, Ronald Jr. and RaShon LaVonte,' who were unable to attend.
"This is your day," he said. "Thank you. I love you. Go ordnance."
Bray plans to stay in the area and continue to work for the government.
Troop formations on the Ordnance Circle field included the 61st Ordnance Brigade led by Col. Dan J. Reilly; the 16th Ordnance Battalion led by Lt. Col. Stephen T. Cheng; the 143rd Ordnance Battalion led by Lt. Col. Steven W. Fletcher and the Salute Battery led by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Pelt and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Smith.
The U.S. Army Materiel Command Band, led by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frederick Ellwein provided music for the ceremony.
A formal retreat ceremony, conducted by the color guard and flag detail, led by Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Kelly, closed the ceremony.