Once a Soldier always a Soldier
November 13, 2012
"I wanted to be a lawyer so I attended the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. I did not get a law degree but ended up with a business degree from University of Maryland University College," explained Ricks.
After college, Ricks started to miss the "land of the rising sun" and reached out to a few people returning to what he calls his second home. It's then he realized he could serve the military in a different capacity as a civilian. He was hired as a restaurant supervisor at Sagamihara Depot near Camp Zama and stayed there four years. Ricks then transferred to Camp Zama's post club and was hired as the operations and security manager and held the job for seven years. What happen next he never could have imagined.
"I was asked about the job here so I took the four hour trip to see what was going and was shocked at the size of the place, it's very small, almost tiny." said Ricks.
According to Ricks, Kure is home to the Defense Commissary Agency's smallest commissary both overseas and stateside. The barracks and lodging, fitness center and restaurant are all in one building adjacent to the 83rd Ordnance Battalion headquarters. It all sits on more than three acres of pier side land.
Ricks credits team spirit for his success. He added it puts one in a position to get to know people around you and it also helped remind him of being a Soldier and a member of a team.
"When you get to know people it helps them become a member of a team and teamwork is important here at Kure. It's a small community so we all depend on each other in one way or another for success in every way. Both as a group and as individuals."
Ricks is up early and works diligently throughout the day to ensure everyone is taken care of from Soldiers eating breakfast in the morning to ensuring all the supplies are ordered at the fitness center before he shuts down after midnight. It's his passion to make sure all is well at Kure.
Ricks tour of duty at Kure has been well received and has brought some notoriety. He led Kure's MWR to win the 2006 and 2007 James A. Carroll Award for Small Operations. The Army established the award to recognize outstanding MWR facilities and management.
The key to his success is remembering his family values and concepts that kept him focused throughout the years as a Soldier and Department of the Army civilian during his more than 25 years of federal service.
"We're like a family here and that's important to me. Similar to when I was a young soldier far away from home, I depended on family oriented relationships to make it and it's the same way here for us all. I'm still serving my country, community and Soldiers all in one." said Ricks