SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE , Ill. -- The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's top enlisted Soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Dana "Spence" Mason, Jr., closed out a nearly 35-year career of service to the nation during a retirement ceremony in the Seay Auditorium here Dec 6.Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, SDDC commanding general, officiated the event. "Command Sgt. Maj. Mason is an incredible Soldier who served his nation with distinction and honor," said Farmen. "He is an exceptional battle buddy, Soldier, warrior, father, man of faith and teammate."In addition to being current "battle buddies" at SDDC, Mason and Farmen previously served together as commanding general and command sergeant major at the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command.Members of Mason's immediate family were present for the ceremony, to include his wife Michelle, son Dana IV, daughter Javonka, mother Tony Jones and father Dana Sr. Additionally, numerous extended family members and close friends he served with in uniform made the trip to attend the event.Also in attendance were senior leaders from both the U.S. Transportation Command and SDDC, including USTRANSCOM commander Gen. Stephen R. Lyons.Prior to the reading of Mason's official retirement orders, Farmen presented him with the Legion of Merit to recognize his remarkable accomplishments throughout his career.Among many other awards and certificates, Mason also received the Ancient Order of St. Christopher Medal, a special award recognizing transportation excellence.Two former SDDC leaders travelled great distances to be at the ceremony, although one did so virtually.Maj Gen. Kurt Ryan, the former commanding general who selected Mason to serve as his SDDC senior enlisted leader, provided remarks via recorded message shown during the ceremony."Command Sgt. Maj. Mason is the epitome of the (noncommissioned officer) Corps," said Ryan. "There is no one more competent than him."Bryan R. Samson, former SDDC deputy to the commander, made the trip from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, where he currently serves in the same role at U.S. Army Contracting Command."It's very important that we recognize exceptional and distinguished service like that of Command Sgt. Maj. Mason. There's no way I would have missed his ceremony," Samson said.Mason, who has six combat deployments and has served in such units as the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment and 3rd Special Forces Group, is well known as a professional noncommissioned officer and standard bearer. His personal motto, "The standard is the standard," is something he lives up to every day."When my enemy is sleeping, I am working," said Mason. "And when my enemy is working, I am working harder!"After 34-years, nine-months and 19 days of dedicated and selfless service to his nation, Mason can now focus on spending time with his family and let all of the Soldiers he trained to high standard assume the responsibility to work harder.