By Sgt. First Class Sheryl L. LawryOctober 20, 2008
KUNIA, HI -- A distinguished 36 year-long military career came to an end October 3, when Chief Warrant Officer Five Rollie Purvis retired during a ceremony at the Kunia Tunnel.
Purvis' career began in 1967 when he enlisted in the Air Force for four years as a Radio Traffic Analyst. When he left the Air Force in 1971, he attended college started a new career path. However, after five years Purvis said he started to miss his time in the service and the travel that accompanied the job. So in 1976 is enlisted in the Army.
Reflecting back on his career, Purvis also reflected back on History. While in the Air Force, Purvis listed to the radio announcement of Armstrong landing on the moon in 1969; he was stationed in Berlin in 1989 where he witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union and collapse of the Berlin Wall; and in 2001 he was assigned to the Pentagon and was there during that September 11 attacks.
Throughout it all, Purvis gives all his accolades to his wife Sandie.
"Whatever success I have achieved during my military career, it's due to my wife," he said. "She has always been there supporting, helping, encouraging, pushing and taking care of all those things that needed to be taken care of during my time in the field, deployed, on shift or TDY."
Those who had the chance to work next to Purvis said that while his retirement is a wonderful event, his presence, sage advice, and outstanding job skills will be missed.
"He epitomizes old school Warrants," said Retired CW2 John Toillion, who has worked with Purvis for two years. "He is above reproach. From the time you meet him, he's really personable, but all business when he has to be. He embodies to me all that it is to be a Soldier in uniform."
"He understands the warrant mentality," said CW3 Joseph Robertson, who has also worked with Purvis and will miss his problem solving abilities. "He has this sense of clarity that can only come from his extensive experience,"
"We congratulate you on a job well done," said Col. Christopher Ballard, commander for the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade and was the guest speaker at Purvis' retirement.
Purvis leaves simple advice to all those who knew him and even those who did not.
"There's a saying I've used in the past, do what you can, with what you got. Do the best job you know how to do."
Purvis was awarded the Legion of Marrit, a certificate of appreciation and letter from the President of the United States, and several gift plaques honoring his military career.