FORT BLISS, Texas--The NCO leadership center of excellence held a distinguished service and recognition ceremony on Sept. 6 at the Cooper Lecture hall where the NCOL CoE staff, faculty, students, family members and friends joined together to recognize the career of five retirees who have served this country with honor, duty, and devotion.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Lee Jr., Director of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, hosted the ceremony.

"Today, we honor the courage and sacrifice of five dedicated professionals and their families who have dedicated decades of servant leadership and followership in service to our nation."
After providing a historical backdrop of events that occurred throughout time in September, Lee asked the audience for a moment of silence to honor the memory of lives lost on September 11, 2001.

After the moment passed, the NCOL CoE recognized two individuals for their significant contributions to the mission and success of the NCOL CoE. First, to be called to the stage, Dr. Michael Hayes, who received his certificate from the Command and General Staff College signifying his academic promotion to assistant professor.

Following Hayes, Mr. John Houck received an invitation to the stage where Lt. Col. George Bender inducted him into the Order of Saint Michael for his contributions to Army Aviation. Houck received the bronze Order of Saint Michael medal amongst his peers, friends, and family.

The NCOL CoE also has a time-honored tradition of recognizing distinguished veterans who have made immeasurable contributions to our nation, our military, and our El Paso community.
Mr. Wandell Ake and Mr. Dwight Henry each received a certificate of appreciation for their valuable meritorious service to the Armed Forces.

Next, to be recognized for their time in service, the five retirees, who combined, have 137 years of active federal service.

Throughout the DSR each of the recognized retirees were presented a service award, retirement flag, the army retirement certificate, the army lapel pin and the presidential certificate of appreciation. Spouses of retirees were presented a certificate of appreciation for support of their Soldier from the Department of the Army.

Lt. Col. Priscillia Bejarano
Bejarano commissioned in 1999 as an occupational therapist. During her 20-year career of military service she served in positions of increasing responsibility culminating as the Senior Leader Sustainment deputy director and occupational therapy chief. For her service, Bejarano was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Command Sgt. Maj. Stanton Brown
Brown entered the U.S. Army Aviation branch in 1991. During his 28 years he served in a succession of leadership positions from squad leader to brigade CSM. Brown is also graduate of Class 61 of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and serves as the Deputy Director of Policy and Governance at the NCOL CoE. For his service, Brown was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Dwyer
Dwyer enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical branch in 1988. He served in all key leadership positions in the field of Medical Logistics. Dwyer graduated with distinction from numerous military courses including USASMA Class 59, as well as the first USASMA fellowship in Cohort 1. He currently serves as a Department of Force Management instructor at the USASMA. For his service, Dwyer was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Todd
Todd entered the U.S. Army Aviation branch in 1988. During his 31 years of military service held every leadership position from squad leader to brigade CSM. Todd is a graduate of the USASMA Class 58 and is also a graduate of the USASMA Fellowship Cohort 1, where he received his Master's Degree in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education from The Pennsylvania State University. Todd currently serves as instructor in the Department of Command Leadership for the USASMA. For his service, Todd was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Lord
Lord entered the U.S. Army Infantry branch in 1987. During his 27 years of active service he performed all NCO Leadership duty positions from team leader to Regimental Operations Sergeant Major. Lord is a graduate of the USASMA Class 64 and currently serves as instructor in the Department of Distance Education for the USASMA. For his service, Lord was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Following the awards and presentations the retirees' and their families were invited back to the stage, where they were greeted with a round of applause from the audience.

The ceremony ended in a traditional fashion with the playing of Old Soldiers Never Die, Auld Lang Syne and the Army Song.