ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - The U.S. Army Sustainment Command hosted the quarterly Rock Island Arsenal Retirement and Retreat Ceremony honoring six Soldiers and three Army civilian employees, totaling 271 years of service to the nation at Heritage Hall here, March 8.

RIA conducts retirement and retreat ceremonies every three months to honor those who are departing military and federal service. The purpose of these events is to show retirees appreciation for their career and to thank their families for supporting them.

Those recognized were Chief Warrant Officer 5 Alston Cleary, U.S. ASC; Sgt. Maj. Cherrie Parrish, U.S. First Army; 1st Sgt. Gary Friedrickson, ASC; Master Sgt. Cintron-Flores, ASC; Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Shepard, First Army; Sgt. 1st Class Larry Weckherlin, ASC; Mark Clark, U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command; David House, JMC; and Rickey Peer, JMC.

Brig. Gen. Heidi Hoyle, commanding general, JMC and Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command, presided over the ceremony offering remarks and presenting awards. Hoyle stood in for Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, ASC commanding general, who was unable to attend.

Hoyle expressed gratitude for the retirees' service and talked about how, in the U.S. Army, people have always followed in the footsteps of those who came before us.

"That's certainly the case with the retirees that are here today, that we continue to honor with this ceremony," she said. "Those who blazed the path forward for us to follow, who will be difficult to replace, and will be sorely missed."

Hoyle expressed appreciation for the retirees' family members, who stood by them all the way through their careers.

"Please know that we appreciate all that you have done and all the sacrifices that you have made on behalf of our retirees," she said. "You are a part of the team, and the retirees couldn't have accomplished what they did without you."

Hoyle also pointed out how, regardless of how many retirement and retreat ceremonies she has attended, she's always amazed at the diversity of experience and devotion to our nation of those who are retiring.

"We cannot truly thank you enough, however we do wish you all the very best in your retirement years," she said.

Hoyle presented the awards and certificates of retirement assisted by Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O'Neal, JMC.

Certificates of appreciation were also presented to spouses and children in appreciation of their years of support and dedication.