When Tanya Billingslea thinks of her late husband, many words come to mind, but the one that stands out most is Soldier. So to have him commemorated where hundreds of Soldiers would pass through daily was not only an honor but made perfect sense.
The 73rd Ordnance Battalion and Fort Gordon honored Sgt. Maj. Luis A. Billingslea with a barracks dedication ceremony on Jan. 16. Home to ordnance Soldier-trainees, Billingslea Barracks, or Building 29720, now bears the name, photo, and biography of a Soldier whose service will impact other Soldiers for years to come.
Billingslea, a senior electronic maintenance chief, passed away on Sept. 15, 2017, while serving as the department sergeant major of the Ordnance Electronic Maintenance Training Department (OEMTD) at Fort Gordon. His 29-plus years of dedicated service included 41 months as a drill sergeant, more than 50 months as a senior maintenance team chief, a first sergeant for 53 months, and an instructor for 38 months.
"His greatest impact was his service as a department sergeant major of the OEMTD at Fort Gordon where he was personally responsible for honing the future of the 94 series MOS and his beloved Ordnance Corps," said Christopher Carter, Radio Aviation Control and Survivability Division chief and narrator for the ceremony.
Command Sgt. Maj. Petra Casarez, Ordnance Regimental School command sergeant major and guest speaker, addressed Billingslea's family members; many of whom attended and assisted with the name unveiling.
"Just as Sgt. Maj. Billingslea's strength was his family, he himself embodied the strength of our Army," Casarez said.
On how Tanya thinks her husband would feel about the barracks dedication, she said he would have gotten a kick out of it.
"If there was anything in his job that he didn't like doing, it was taking care of the barracks and chasing after the Soldiers making sure they were doing what they were supposed to be doing," Tanya said. "He had this great big heart, and he genuinely cared about Soldiers … so even though he would have been running around and yelling at them, he would make sure that they were taken care of, too."