ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Eight Army civilians and three Soldiers -- with service totaling 341 years and 18 deployments -- left federal service Sept. 19 to begin the next chapter of their lives, leaving a legacy of selfless service to our nation.

RIA's major tenant organizations, First U.S. Army, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, and U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, conduct joint quarterly retirement ceremonies to honor those who are ending their service and to thank their families for their support.

Brig. Gen. Troy Galloway, deputy commanding general for operations, First Army, presided over the ceremony held in Heritage Hall. Assisting him in the presentations was Sgt. Maj. William Long, senior enlisted Army National Guard advisor.

Galloway gave remarks before presenting awards to the retirees.

"(At First Army) we often quote Gen. Omar Bradley who said something shortly after the victory of World War II that I find meaningful here today. 'Battles are won by the infantry, the armor, the artillery, and air teams, by soldiers living in the rain and huddling in the snow. But wars are won by the great strength of a nation -- the soldier and the civilian working together,'" he said.

"As we honor the extraordinary careers of these 11 individuals -- three Soldiers and eight Army civilians -- it occurs to me that Gen. Bradley's words would be a fitting motto for Rock Island Arsenal," Galloway said.

"Your efforts mean that our Soldiers downrange fight for the most lethal and the most powerful Army in the world. The work that you have done during your careers, the work that brings you to this day of celebration and retirement matters greatly to our Army and has mattered greatly to our nation."

Those retiring were:

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeffery Lein, ASC; Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Burns, ASC; Sgt. Maj. Michael Ravenscroft, ASC; Greg Peterson, JMC; Erma Hill, First Army; Tanya Campbell, ASC; Cynthia Leonard, ASC; Frank Holley, JMC; Cynthia Dean, ASC; Kelli Whitesides, ASC; and Mary Rus, JMC.

Brief biographies of each retiree follows:

O Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeffery Lein entered active duty in 1992 and is retiring after 28 years. His deployments include Implementation Force in Sarajevo/Bosnia; NATO Peacekeeping mission in Botswana; and three deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He assumed duties as the food program manager, ASC, in July 2017. A native of Kinston, North Carolina, Lein is married to the former Deanna Catherine Giannetti; they have three children -- Kaitlin, Jaden, and Malina.

O Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Burns, a native of Asheboro, North Carolina, enlisted in the Army in July 1999 and is retiring with 20 years of service. His deployments include three deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one deployment in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve.

Burns assumed duties as the senior ammunition technician for ASC in July 2015. He is married to the former Jessica Lauren Caudle, and they have been married for 13 years. They have five children -- Nora, Holden, Davison, Macky, and Judith.

O Sgt. Maj. Michael Ravenscroft enlisted in the Army in May 1992 and is retiring with 28 years of service. His deployments include Operations Restore Hope (Haiti), five deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

He served as the Directorate of Logistics Enterprise sergeant major, ASC. He is a life member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) U.S. Army Night Stalker Association made up of Soldiers who are recognized for their proficiency in transporting Soldiers to the point of entry during nighttime operations. Ravenscroft is married to the former Analisa Sanchez and has one daughter, Ashley.

O Greg Peterson is retiring with nearly 50 years of combined military and government service. Peterson joined the Navy in June 1969 and served on active duty as a nuclear power plant components welder for 30 years, retiring in January 2000 as a master chief petty officer. In September 2000, he began his civilian career as a Defense Contract Management Agency quality assurance representative intern and retires as the lead product quality manager for JMC.

Peterson has been married to his wife Sandy since 1971. They have two children and five grandchildren. They have lived in the Quad Cities since 2007.

O Erma Hill began her career in July 1978 as a data transcriber with the Rock Island Arsenal Data Processing Center. She retires as the First Army G6 Cybersecurity Section Information Systems security manager with 41 years of government service.

A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Hill has one son and one daughter who are both married, and eight grandchildren. Hill's plans for retirement include spending more time with family and friends, and doing more volunteer work at her church and in the community.

O A native of Davenport, Iowa, Tanya Campbell began her career as a student aide in the Small Caliber Maintenance Engineer Division, in the former Armament Materiel Readiness Command at Rock Island Arsenal during her junior year of high school, May 1981. She retires with 38 years of service as a supply management specialist in the Services Division, ASC.

Campbell has two sons, Connor and Cody; daughter in-law, Allison; one granddaughter, Brooklyn; and her dog, a Pekingese, Joey. Campbell's retirement plans include working on home projects, spending more time with family and friends, travelling, and relaxing.

O A native of Long Grove, Iowa, Cynthia Leonard began her career in June 1981 as a clerk typist with the Armament Materiel Readiness Command Product Assurance Directorate. She ends her career as a lead materiel integrator for Army War Reserve Stock, culminating a 38-year career.

Leonard is married to Thom Leonard; they have two sons, Bryce and Payton. Leonard plans on enjoying "girlfriend" time until her husband retires; camping; boating; spending time with her mom, siblings, nieces, nephews and other family members in Texas; and visiting the Ozarks. Leonard said she feels blessed to have been a part of the Army Family.

O Frank Holley, a native of Edenton, North Carolina, is retiring with 36 years of combined federal service. He enlisted in the Air Force in April 1975 where he served one tour and was honorably discharged. He is a Vietnam era veteran. He retires as an operations research analyst team lead for the JMC Resource Management directorate.

Holley is married to the former Wanda Denise Pugh and they have been married for 22 years. They have two sons, Cameron and Xavier. He also has five children from his first marriage to Denise Loraine Brown (deceased) -- Alfred, Evelyn, Jchemela, Frank and Tarryn. Out of that union he has 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

O Cynthia Dean began her career in November 1982 as a student aide for the Corp of Engineers, and a year later for the Rock Island Arsenal. She became a full-time employee in April 1984 hired on as a clerk stenographer. She retires with 36 years as a financial management analyst at ASC, a position she has held since June 2016.

A native of Laurel, Mississippi, and raised in Davenport, Iowa, Dean plans to work on some projects at home and volunteer at a couple organizations of her choice. Spending more time with family and friends, and occasional traveling, are also future plans. Dean has one daughter, Ashley.

O Kelli Whitesides began her career at Rock Island Arsenal in 1984 as a clerk stenographer with the U.S. Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command. She retires with 35 years as a logistics management specialist with ASC, working on the Army Prepositioned Stock-5 program in the Southwest Asia area of responsibility.

Whitesides said she loved working on the island and is very appreciative of the work experiences and the people she has met and enjoyed along the way.

O Mary Rus is retiring with 33 years of service as the JMC Internal Controls program manager. Prior to this assignment, Rus was the director of JMC's Equal Employment Opportunity and the Affirmative Employment program manager.

Rus lives in Eldridge, Iowa, with her husband, Allen, and they have three children -- Ethan, Adrienne, and Jared.

Upon reflection of their careers, the retirees offered timeless advice. Cynthia Dean, who experienced four reassignments and realignments, shared her secrets on perseverance.

"Learn all you can from those willing to teach you, always be prepared for the unexpected, and never let things that are out of your control, take control of how you feel or deal with them. There's a reason for everything that happens in life...we may not know it at the time, but eventually it will come to pass."

The common theme among the retirees is the honor of serving the nation and the support they received along their careers, and their confidence in those behind them.

"Let me just say that I have had the distinct honor to meet, and work with, some of the finest people in the universe," said Greg Peterson.

"I have enjoyed my career, even the seven deployments, and was able to do so because of my great support group. It's been an honor and privilege to serve our country and will always be thankful to those leaders who helped me along the way," said Ravenscroft.

"As I take off this uniform in the coming months, I am confident that those who remain behind me are the best our nation has to offer," said Lein during his farewell remarks. "However we define victory, they are the ones shouldering the load, and I am certain they will more than meet our expectations. I'm departing with the clear conscience that I have served to the best of my ability and gave it all I had.

"If you see me around and want to say thank you for your service, be prepared for my response of 'You're worth it', which simply means helping to defend this nation we all love was worth the sacrifices my family and I have made for you."