FORT BLISS, Texas – The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence held a memorial ceremony, Feb. 5, for Mr. Artez Lamar, a retired command sergeant major and instructor at the Sergeants Major Academy, who passed away on 17 November 2020.
During the ceremony, held in the NCOLCoE Cooper Lecture Center and streamed live on the organization’s Facebook page, a handful of senior leaders shared memories of Lamar, each noting his commitment to service and his motto of HOPE – helping other people every day.
“[Lamar] was about serving everyone he could,” Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Schmidt, the commandant of the NCOLCoE, said during his eulogy. “He had a thirst for helping others, and it was on display through his 30 years in the military and 12 years as a member of this organization, teaching, mentoring and coaching students of the Sergeants Major Academy, staff and faculty of the NCOLCoE, and his community as well.”
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Lamar enlisted into the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as a field artillery cannon crewmember in 1979. In the three decades he served on active duty, Lamar held a variety of distinguished positions such as drill sergeant, Advanced Individual Training instructor, first sergeant, and command sergeant major. His highly decorated military career includes receiving the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, and the drill sergeant, airborne and air assault identification badges.
Education played an important role in Lamar’s life, as evident in the numerous course certifications and degrees he earned during both his military and civilian careers. In addition to completing all levels of enlisted professional military education, Lamar also held an Associate’s degree from Excelsior College and both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degree from Park University.
His transition to an instructor at the Sergeants Major Academy came as no surprise to those who knew him and his dedication to serving and teaching others.
“No matter what was going on, I made it a point to stop and give him my full attention, because, you see, I was about to learn something,” Command Sgt. Maj. David Lee, director of the Sergeants Major Academy said. “His energy always gave me an energy boost; his mentorship always kept me focused; and, his simple ‘Thank you, I appreciate you and I’m praying for you’ was always enough and right on time.”
One of Lamar’s many acts as an integral member of the Department of Command Leadership included successfully converting the resident course curriculum from face-to-face delivery to full-time virtual learning. The seamless transition ensured the continuous learning and leader development of students currently enrolled in the Sergeants Major Course.
Sgt. Maj. Scott Schomaker, the vice chair for the DCL and Lamar’s supervisor, shared memories of Lamar during their first interactions in 1993 – Schomaker was a newly enlisted Soldier, and Lamar was his seasoned drill sergeant.
“His smile you remember [now], is the same smile he had when he would enter the [basic training] bay,” Schomaker said. “Drill Sergeant Lamar just seemed
able to talk to you to where you just didn’t want to let him down. When our other drill sergeants were yelling, it seemed like he was figuring out a way to get the most out of each one of us privates.”
While fighting back tears, Schomaker explained how Lamar was the first person he called on many occasions throughout his career -- when he decided to leave college to enlist in the Army, when he made the promotion list for master sergeant, and when he was selected to attend the Sergeants Major Academy.
“[He] left footprints on the hearts of countless people,” Schomaker said. “And I, for one, am a better man for it.”
Following brief remarks by both Lt. Col. Deborah Brown, the NCOLCoE chaplain; and Ms. Rishona Lamar, former spouse; the audience held a moment of silence in his honor.
Lamar is survived by his son, mother and three sisters.
To watch the full memorial ceremony, visit www.facebook.com/NCOLCoE