Decorated CSM retires to Wiregrass
June 30, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A highly-experienced and respected member of the Army Aviation community brought a 35-year career in the military to an end June 23 during a retirement ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.
Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick J. Laidlaw, Army Capabilities and Integration Center, Fort Monroe, Va., was described by Lt. Gen. Michael A. Vane, ACIC deputy commanding general, as a capable leader, an innovator and a good friend.
“He has made a lasting and significant contribution to the future of our Army that we will see for years to come,” Vane said. “From strategy to concepts, in doctrine and organizations, he ensured we were focused on the Soldier as the centerpiece of our efforts. He has the unique ability to tie all of the activities on a Soldier’s battlefield to the larger strategic issue.”
Laidlaw is no stranger to the Aviation Branch as he was command sergeant major of the 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment from September 2001 to October 2004. He’s also completed numerous military courses, including the OH-58A Maintenance Supervisor’s Course, Aircraft Technical Inspectors Course, the U.S. Army Safety Center Course, First Sergeant Course, the U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy (Class 49), Command Sergeant Major Designee Course, Battle Staff Course, and Senior Leaders Equal Opportunity Course, Force Management and Keystone Course.
Laidlaw thanked those in attendance, especially those who helped to make his career in the Army successful.
“Alexandrea and I are humbled by your presence today,” he said. “This is not the end of a chapter in our lives, but the beginning of another. The rich career I’ve had over the course of three decades wouldn’t have been possible without the mentoring of some of those gathered here today.”
He added that the Army isn’t about the individual, it’s about the team. He said it was an honor to have been part of that team and to help it continue its efforts over the last 35 years.
“The Army has seen many changes over the years, especially during the 10 years of persistent conflict,” he said. “Our Army was founded on team principals. As a part of that team, Alex and I were able to be part of something bigger than ourselves. This concept of a team is something we must give back and the adage of ‘once a Soldier, always a Soldier’ holds truer now more than ever.”
Laidlaw’s contributions to the Army have impacted many different Soldiers, Vane said. Even those in command positions at other installations made the trip to Fort Rucker to wish him well and to thank him for his years of dedicated service.
“It’s a sad time and a glad time for me and my wife as I say goodbye to a lifelong friend,” said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., Combined Arms Center commanding general at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “He’s been a true friend and mentor to me.”
Vane also presented Laidlaw with the Distinguished Service Medal, a certificate of appreciation signed by President Barack Obama and a U.S. Flag that was flown over the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence in honor of his lifelong contributions to Soldiers, the Army, the Aviation Branch and the nation.