FORT JACKSON, SC -- The cloudy skies and occasional rain could not dampen the spirits of the retirees who showed up for the retiree recognition ceremony Saturday at Darby Field.

William Campbell, who retired from the Army in 1980 after 26 years of service, said he has not attended Fort Jackson's Retiree Appreciation Days in several years, but was glad he did this year.

"You meet a lot of interesting people," Campbell said. "You get an update about what's happening."

During his speech at the ceremony, Fort Jackson Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall emphasized the importance of maintaining a connection between retired and active-duty service members.

"We have to pull our retirees in and let them know they are part of a family that no one else can relate to," Stall said.

After the ceremony, more than 1,500 retirees visited the Retiree Expo and Health Fair where they could get up-to-date information on services offered to the retiree community. Many in attendance took advantage of free health screenings offered by Moncrief Army Community Hospital and DENTAC.

"The 2010 Retiree Appreciation Days was a huge success," said Albert Brackett, Fort Jackson's retirement services officer. "The planning, coordination and execution was great, as well as the service that was provided to the attendees."

Many of the retirees traveled from out of state to be part of the festivities and are planning to come back.

"The most outstanding aspect of the RAD was that the attendees traveling from North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida stated that they were well pleased with the way in which they were treated and look forward to next year's RAD," Brackett said.

The two-day event started Friday during Basic Combat Training graduation with the honoring of Vietnam veterans in attendance. Other events included a golf tournament, bowling tournament and retiree dinner.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16