Retirement ceremony honors 'Warrior' legacy
October 18, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- "Ernest Hemmingway once stated that 'retirement is the ugliest word in the English language,'" stated Col. Christopher Vanek, Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, "Warriors," 25th Infantry Division. "That statement is possibly reflective of today's ceremony."
"For as we rejoice with these selfless servants during their moment of accomplishment, we also anguish at the loss of such dedicated and committed Warriors and leaders," Vanek said.
A retirement ceremony at the Nehelani Club at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, honored two Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team on Oct. 5. Sgt. 1st Class Jason Boe, a field artilleryman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT, and 1st Sgt. Philip Castle, the 1st Sgt. for Charlie Company (Medical), 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd BCT, were among the 12 retirees recognized during the ceremony that closed the final chapter of their Army careers with the 25th Inf. Div.
In their combined 41 years of service, Boe and Castle agreed that taking care of Soldiers ranked among their top contributions to the Army.
"I hope my legacy has been taking care of Soldiers," Castle said. "I strived to put their needs before mine. It's the Soldiers that are most important. It's important to teach them the same thing, so that when they come up in the ranks they send more of their focus down to their Soldiers."
With so many Soldiers currently serving in the Army, part of mission success depends on unit cohesion. Boe said that the essence of teamwork in the Army is something he will take with him as he prepares for the next chapter of his life.
"I liked the teamwork," Boe said. "I liked how people from all branches of life could come together and work as a team to get the job done."
Castle echoed Boe's regard for teamwork, and added the importance of adaptability.
"I learned how to work with all kinds of people in a diverse environment," Castle said. "I learned how to adapt to any situation."
This adaptability, something both retirees instilled in their Soldiers, will prove vital to the success of the organization as the Army continues to change. Castle noted the changes he has seen during his Army career.
"The Army has changed dramatically," Castle said. "It's a more educated and adaptable Army than when I came in. It has different strengths, and I really believe the ability of the leadership on all levels has increased."
These changes imply similar things for both Boe and Castle. As noncommissioned officers, the two retirees saw improvements in the structure and operation of the noncommissioned officer corps.
"I think the Army is headed back to discipline, back to standards," Castle said. "I think you're going to see noncommissioned officers holding their ranks for longer to build their capabilities and perspectives in those ranks."
"I believe the NCO corps is going to continue to improve," Boe said. "The biggest thing is the noncommissioned officer education system and the changes being made to improve it for future generations."
Although both of the retirees turn their gaze toward their next endeavor, they paused briefly to reflect on advice they had for the future generations that will continue to serve the nation.
"Take advantage of all the programs the Army has to offer," Boe said. "I used tuition assistance and almost completed my bachelor's degree with no money out of pocket. Use the system, stay motivated and make yourself useful to the Army."
"Don't take your service for granted," Castle said. "Remember all the programs and benefits of being in the Army. Above all else, keep your service to the nation in the forefront of your mind."
With their decades of service behind them, these retirees have paved the way for the generations of Soldiers that will continue to serve in the U.S. Army. These younger generations will continue the legacies left behind, leading by the examples set by previous leaders like Boe and Castle.