ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Seven retirees with a combined 177 years of service were honored at the Rock Island Arsenal Retirement Ceremony in Heritage Hall, here, Dec. 13.

Three Soldiers and four Department of the Army civilians participated in the combined ceremony, which is held quarterly for those retirees who chose to participate.

"There's nothing easy about serving the country," said Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, who hosted the event. "Every day you are called upon to give more to others than yourself."

Gamble said he is confident each retiree will continue to contribute to the nation as people accustomed to selfless service.

"While I know some of you believe you will hang it up -- maybe even go fishing every day -- I believe you will continue to serve either your local communities or our country," he said.

Event photos can be found on ASC's Flickr account for a limited time:

The retirees included the following:


Capt. Dermot R. Medine Thomas, Plans and Exercises Future Operations plans officer, ASC, completed his career in uniform following 28 years of service. He enlisted in 1990 as a tactical transport helicopter repairer and received a commission through Officer Candidate School in July 2008.

His deployments include Operation Provide Relief in Somalia, Operation Joint Guard/Task Force Falcon in Bosnia, Operation Allied Force/Task Force Hawk in Kosovo, Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Atlantic Resolve in Europe.

Medine Thomas's military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and six Army Commendation Medals.


Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mauro Echeverri, supply chain manager, ASC, ends his career in uniform with 26 years of service. He enlisted in 1992 at Fort Hamilton, New York, and was made a warrant officer in 2003.

Echeverri deployed five times to areas around the world including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Somalia.

Echeverri's awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals, and six Army Commendation Medals.


Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lee H. Slocum, maintenance warrant officer, ASC, completed his career in uniform following 20 years of service. A native of Dayton, Minnesota, Slocum enlisted in 1998 and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Slocum deployed to Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi freedom and Enduring Freedom. He also deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation New Dawn.

Slocum's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, four Army Commendation Medals, and four Army Achievement Medals.


Teresa (Terri) Morrison, lead materiel integrator for chemical, construction and engineer equipment, ASC, started working at Rock Island Arsenal as a high school junior in 1975. A native of Davenport, Iowa, she took a short career break in 1982 to be a stay-at-home mom.

She returned to work at the arsenal in 1986, serving in various roles supporting information technology, depot maintenance for chemical equipment, and materiel logistics.

Morrison is a life member of the United States Army Chemical Corps Regimental Association. She received the Commander's Award for Civilian Service in 2002.


Melissa Sharp, information technology specialist, Joint Munitions Command, started her federal career as a computer programmer in 1979. She then worked as an IT specialist in various commands based at RIA.

During a deployment to Balad, Iraq, from 2006 to 2007, Sharp provided IT support to Soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On a return flight from taking cellphones to Soldiers in Baghdad, Sharp's Black Hawk helicopter was shot down more than 20 miles from base.

The crew and passengers sustained no injuries, but Sharp said the experience left her with an enduring appreciation of everything service men and women do.

She said her goal was always to provide quality customer service for everyone who needed her expertise.


Gayla Pacheco, chief, Equal Employment Opportunity, ASC, first entered federal service in 1979 as a clerk for the Department of Agriculture in Galesburg, Illinois.

Pacheco has filled many other roles focused on human resources and education, including serving as a Hispanic employment manager, a Federal Women's Program manager, a chair for Special Emphasis Programs, EEO officer for the St. Louis District Corps of Engineers, and a Workforce Recruitment Program manager for college students with disabilities.

Pacheco is active in her community, serving as the vice chair for the board of trustees at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg. She was also a board member for the Carl Sandburg College Foundation and president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Pacheco was named Illinois LULAC Woman of the Year in 1990.


Gary P. Nellis, branch chief maintenance, ASC, retired with 34 years of federal service.

A native of upstate New York, Nellis began his civilian career in 2004 as a logistics management specialist with the Tank Automotive Armament Command - Chemical/Biological Team. He later served in several roles of increasing responsibility, including supervisor in the Distribution Management Center and Materiel Readiness Division.

Nellis said he was proud to show loyalty and dedication to the Army family by serving as a subject matter expert for any and all things maintenance.


Local leaders who also attended, included Frank Klipsch, mayor of Davenport; State Rep. Dan Swanson, 74th District, Illinois; state Rep. Michael Halpin, 72nd District, Illinois; Rhonda Vandecasteele, deputy to the commanding general, JMC; and Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Ulloth, command sergeant major, ASC.

ASC hosted the event, providing awards coordination and the narrator. ASC chaplain (Lt. Col.) David Jacob gave the invocation.