On December 6, the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence held a Distinguished Service and Recognition ceremony at the Cooper Lecture Center where friends, family, faculty, students and staff gathered to honor the careers of three retirees who served the United States Army with distinction.
Soldiers and Army Civilians perform their duties to Army standards, living the Army Values as they become leaders responsible for the people and resources entrusted to them. The DSR celebrates their professionalism and acknowledges their career achievements.Three retirees, two instructors, two civilians, five Sergeants Major Course Class 70 students and two veterans received recognition for their outstanding service to the United States Army.Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Simmons, director of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Directorate hosted the ceremony."This morning we recognize the careers of Mr. Charlie Guyette, Command Sgt. Maj. Nuuese Passi and Sgt. Maj. Otto Orraca on the occasion of their retirement," he said. "These men have proudly served their country in peace and in war with a combined total of 107 years of service."After reminiscing of his time spent with the retirees Simmons reminded the audience that it is the hard work, support and sacrifice of the staff and faculty which drives the educational change throughout the Army Enterprise."There are 576,000 enlisted Soldiers from all three cohorts impacted by our courses and educational products every year," he said. "I am proud to serve alongside such amazing civil servants and Soldiers."The DSR is not only about the retirees or the award ceremony, it also brings homage to those who served in the past, the distinguished veterans."It is incredibly important that we do not forget where we came from," Simmons said. "It is an honor to pay tribute to those who came before us and laid down the foundation we stand on today."After the moment passed, Simmons continued, "I would be remiss if I did not mention that tomorrow is the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and our entrance into World War II. I ask that each of you remember the fallen, and the service and sacrifice of those who served, take some time this weekend to reflect on the events of December 7, 1941."Upon completion of Simmons remarks the NCOLCoE recognized two individuals for their achievement on winning the instructor and educator of the year at the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence. First, to be called to the stage Sgt. Maj. Dietrek Louis, who received the Army Commendation Medal for exceptionally meritorious achievement in winning the instructor of the year competition for the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy.Following Louis, Dr. Barabara Yancy-Tooks received an invitation to the stage where she received an award for the Civilian Service Achievement Medal for exceptionally meritorious achievement in winning the educator of the year competition for the USASMA.Three other individuals from the NCOLCoE received their Civilian Service Awards, Christynne Leon the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, while Mark Froom and Mr. Arthur Jenkins each received Civilian Service Achievement Medals.Next, five students for the SMC Class 70 were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the NCOLCoE "Army versus Navy" video, Master Sgts. Jeremy Emrick, Lebaron Gordon, Marlene Harshman, Fred Killa, and Renee Mcneilly.The NCOLCoE 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.Retired Army Colonel, Col. Paul Parks and retired Staff Sgt. Patrick Brackeen each received a certificate of appreciation for their valuable meritorious service to the Armed Forces.Following the presentation to the veterans, the NCOLCoE paid honor to three retirees on the occasion of their retirement from the United States Army.The two military retirees were presented a retirement flag, the army retirement certificate, the army lapel pin and the presidential certificate of appreciation.Mr. Charlie Guyette (Command Sgt. Maj. retired)
Guyette entered military service in 1975 and became a Department of the Army civilian after he retired in 2005. During his tenure at the USASMA and NCOLCoE he led innovative and revolutionary change to the entire U.S. Army NCO Professional Development System. He authored the revision to the U.S Army NCO Guide and U.S. Army Soldier Guide, incorporating enhancements and positive changes not seen in nearly 30 years. He is also responsible for leading the institution's effort to seek and achieve the Higher Learning Commission accreditation of the Sergeants Major Academy to grant a bachelor's of arts in leadership and workforce development. Guyette served the U.S. government for 45 years. He served the last 15 years as a DA civilian at USASMA and the NCOLCoE.Command Sgt. Maj. Nuuese Passi Jr
Passi entered the U.S. Army in 1986 as an infantryman. During his 33 years of military service Passi held leadership positions in the following: Ranger Regiment as an assistant gunner, Team Leader, Squad Leader, Weapons Squad Leader, Battalion Sniper Employment NCO in charge, Diver, Dive Supervisor, Special Skills NCOIC, and platoon sergeant. He was indoctrinated into the Ranger Regiment, and served as the 24th commandant for the NCO Academy at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Passi served as a command sergeant major four times, with his final position as the director of the USASMA.Sgt. Maj. Otto Orraca
Orraca entered military service in 1990 by attending the armored One Station Unit Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and served his military career as a Tank Crewman. He has served as a Tank Commander, platoon sergeant, Tank company first sergeant, the III Corp NCO Academy first sergeant. He is also a graduate of the USASMA SMC Class 61, where his follow-on assignment brought him to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii there he served as an operational sergeant major. Orraca's 29 years of service is a testament to his current position as the Deputy Director of Staff and Faculty and Curriculum Development assistant at the NCOLCoE.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.