Soldiers draw praise at retirement ceremony
February 27, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - During their combined U.S. Army service of 73 years, Lt. Col. Ivory Freeman, 1st Sgt. Rodney Hargus and Master Sgt. Matthew Coulter have seen and experienced it all.
They've been through deployments and separations, leading and following, push-ups and sit-ups and a whole host of acronyms that include AARs, VTCs, MREs, and of course, PT, said Col. Tony Sarver, 5th Signal Command chief of staff, during the trio's retirement ceremony Feb. 21 at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center.
"Through all of these things and much more, you have stayed the course and put yourself on the line day in and day out," Sarver said.
Sarver made his comments before a packed room full of more than 100 well-wishers that included Brig. Gen. Bruce Crawford, commander of 5th Signal Command, his wife Diane Crawford, Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Tyce of 5th Signal Command, Col. David Carstens, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, and garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Sa'eed Mustafa.
"This is indeed a milestone occasion, not only in the lives of those retiring, but of their family, friends and colleagues," Sarver said. "I'm sure I speak for everyone here in saying that we are honored and truly blessed by the sacrifices you and your family members have made."
Freeman, who served for 25 years as an air defense artillery officer and a military intelligence officer, said he plans to move to San Antonio, Texas, with his wife so they can be close to their children in college.
Sarver praised Freeman for his years of service.
"You have influenced and mentored countless Soldiers and leaders in the heat of battle during Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom," Sarver said. "You even found time to complete over 1,500 hours as a crew member for the JSTARS aircraft."
As the chief intelligence officer for 5th Signal Command, Freeman was instrumental in developing cyber capabilities with joint services and host nation partners, Sarver said. "You leave us as a tried and true Soldier. We wish you and your family all the best."
Coulter, who served for an impressive 28 years, served in many logistics positions in several locations around the globe, including Central America, southwest Asia, Europe and many parts of the United States, Sarver said.
A highlight of Coulter's career while serving in 5th Signal Command was his nomination to become the Department of Europe commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sarver said. That job will continue after Coulter's retirement, Sarver noted.
"There is perhaps no greater honor in service than knowing that you have touched the lives of so many of our noncommissioned officers and future leaders," Sarver said. "We thank you and your family for your leadership and dedication."
Coulter said he plans to stay in Germany and work as a civilian.
Hargus, who served for 20 years in Germany, Japan, Texas, Georgia, Hungary and twice in Afghanistan, entered the U.S. Army initially as an infantry Soldier, and then took a five year break in his service to return as a Military Police officer.
Hargus spent most of his time in the Army as an MP officer, Sarver said, and he worked in several leadership positions, finally becoming the provost sergeant for USAG Wiesbaden. Hargus, like Coulter, said he plans to stay in Germany and work as a civilian.
Sarver praised Hargus for his service.
"It is noncommissioned officers like you who have made this Army and its Soldiers better than the way you found it," Sarver said. "Thank you for your distinguished service."