FORT DETRICK, Md. -- As an 18-year-old high school graduate in 1990, Corey A. Lord looked to the U.S. Army as a way to launch his career.
But he didn’t figure it would be his entire career.
“I had no intentions of staying 30 years. None,” Lord said, as he explained that he only intended to stay in the military as a medical maintenance equipment repairer for six years. “But after six years … I fell in love with it. I didn’t want to do anything else, so I stayed in.”
After three decades, multiple deployments and numerous achievements, Lord, 48, has retired at the rank of sergeant major.
Lord’s final duty station was at Fort Detrick, serving as the first sergeant major for Army Medical Logistics Command. Prior to the establishment of AMLC in 2019, he served in the same role for the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, now a direct reporting unit to AMLC.
At his retirement ceremony on Jan. 29 at Fort Detrick, Col. Lynn Marm, a former USAMMA commander, said Lord’s service and sacrifice spanned multiple wars, as well as the battle against a global pandemic.
“Sgt. Maj. Lord represents the very best of the NCO corps,” Marm said. “He’s a great American, a servant leader, a master logistician, a loving husband, brother and son, a loyal friend.”
Lord’s assignments as a biomedical equipment specialist, also known as a 68A, included various roles with units at Fort Carson, Colorado, and with the 32nd Medical Logistics Battalion (Forward) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Serving as platoon sergeant from 2001 to 2007, Lord deployed to Iraq a total of three times.
“That group of Soldiers, we were all really tight,” said Lord, a native of Sherman, Maine. “We got deployed, came home, got deployed, came home. We just got really close.”
As a forward-deployed medical equipment maintainer, Lord and the other 68As serve as the subject-matter experts for medical devices.
“We are so dependent on technology. Medical care is dependent on equipment and technology, and we’re the ones who fix it,” he said. “That saves lives.”
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jesus Tulud, director of AMLC’s Medical Maintenance Policies and Analysis directorate, said Lord’s legacy is manifested in his efforts to promote the 68A military occupational specialty and position professionals in appropriate places across AMLC and the wider Army medical enterprise.
“Without the 68A, there is no medical maintenance on the front lines,” Tulud said. “In my opinion, our providers would not have the same confidence that medical devices will be ready and available for patient care without them.”
Tulud added that Lord has been a great mentor for younger Soldiers and “one of the most active sergeant majors for the medical maintenance community.”
“Down to the unit level, Sgt. Maj. Lord always focused on ensuring our community was always improving,” he said.
When talking about Lord’s impact on the Army, Marm used Lord’s love of football to make her point.
Throughout his career, Marm said Lord has been similar to a football player and coach -- staying in shape, both mentally and physically; always recruiting the best talent; building his bench with capable “players;” coaching those players; and staying loyal to his fans.
“Leaders like Sgt. Maj. Lord help to build winning teams and winning players,” she said. “But there is one very special thing … leaders like Sgt. Maj. [Lord] inspire others to bring their very best. They play with all their heart, truly care about the players, the team, the country and everything else.
“They play with all their might.”
One of many mentored by Lord over his career was Sgt. Maj. Monnet Bushner, current sergeant major at USAMMA. Bushner credited Lord as an influential role model as she started her first senior enlisted adviser role.
“Having served over 30 years, Sgt. Maj. Lord has developed a network and team to help mentor and guide so many military and civilian personnel to be successful,” Bushner said. “This tightly knit group continues to get bigger and stronger.”
Bushner added that Lord is always quick to share his institutional expertise and exhibits a passion for grooming young Soldiers to help improve any organization.
“Soldiers and NCOs look for leaders to emulate,” she said, “and I believe Sgt. Maj. Lord has been an excellent example and his legacy will continue after he retires through other leaders he has encountered.”
Although he enlisted with just a high school diploma, Lord took advantage of Army educational programs to advance his career, earning bachelor’s degrees in biomedical technology and business finance in 1997, then a master’s in engineering in 2004.
Lord’s message to future Soldiers? Take advantage of opportunities to advance your education.
“Use the education benefits that the Army offers,” said Lord, who plans to operate a private hunting ranch in Maine in his retirement. “Do I need a master’s in engineering to run a ranch? No, but there’s things I learned from going to school.
“Whether I use it or not, it’s always a plus,” he added.
Lord said many retirees look at the end of active duty life as a “bittersweet” decision, but he’s not in that bunch.
“If the Army would let me do another 10 years, I’d probably do another 10 years. That’s just how I feel. Physically, mentally, I would stay,” he said. “But it is time for me to go.”
Lord said he looks forward to spending more time with his family, including his wife, Christiana, and their children.
He also recognized the countless individuals who helped him along his career.
“I’ve only gotten this far because of the people I’ve worked for and the people I’ve worked with,” Lord said. “I’ve been blessed throughout my career to have great Soldiers. You can’t do it yourself. You can provide a little bit of direction, but that support comes from the people below you.”
Lord said he’s been “really humbled” reflecting on his career, specifically when thinking about his past leaders and the Soldiers who supported him.
“I just hope that I left the Army a better place than when I came in,” he said. “That’s all I can do.”