FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - U.S. Army Pacific hosted a Celebration of Service ceremony, Nov. 12, 2018, at historic Palm Circle on Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Soldiers, family, and friends gathered together to pay tribute to the USARPAC Soldiers as they prepare to retire from active duty.

Brig. Gen. Jon Howerton, assistant chief of staff G-3/5/7, for USARPAC, officiated the ceremony, and said it was a great privilege to thank the retiring Soldiers, and celebrate the Soldiers combined 115 years of service to the nation.

"Today we're here to pay tribute to four warriors who are transitioning out of active military service to the Army's distinguished retired roster," said Howerton. "I consider it one of my highest honors to thank and quite literally celebrate the service of these exceptional leaders."

The USARPAC retirees honored were: Lt. Col. Efrain de la Cruz, Sr., Maj. Stephen Kitchens, Sgt. 1st Class Corey Ray, and Sgt. 1st Class Justin Lee Roberts.

Howerton spoke briefly about each Soldier's career and their accomplishments, thanking the Soldiers for their commitment, as well as the family members for their support and for sharing their loved ones through the decades.

"As we look to the future we do so with great optimism because of the legacy each of you leave behind," said Howerton. "As you transition, leave knowing that you have left the Army in a much better place than you found it. It is in great hands, hands that you helped shaped, and it stands ready to do whatever is required on behalf of our nation."

USARPAC's Celebration of Service ceremony recognizes Soldiers for exceptional service to U.S. Army Pacific and the nation as they prepare to transition into new careers. During the ceremony, Soldiers receive awards, certificates of retirement, and are presented with the U.S. Flag in honor of their service to the nation.