FORT RILEY, Kan. - One local organization allows retired E-9s to stay connected to their active duty counterparts.

Since 1977, E-9s in all branches of military service have had the opportunity to participate in the E-9 Association, which allows E-9s to meet in both social and professional settings to discuss ideas, information and share knowledge.

The group started as a meeting of about 100 retired Army sergeants major in the Fort Hood, Texas, area in 1977 and from there grew to encompass several chapters throughout the United States, said Rick Hearron, Fort Riley's safety manager and member of the E-9 Association.

Today the headquarters is still located in Texas, and the Kansas chapter, which is called the Sunflower Chapter, boasts about 70 members from different branches of service.

Hearron said a yearly budget is done every October, and includes donations, which this year went to the American Red Cross on post and the Warrior Transition Battalion.

Although the majority of the association's members are retired - many from Fort Riley - active duty E-9s also are encouraged to join.

E-9s who are interested in joining the association may pick up an application from Hearron or ask another member for more information. General council meetings are held on the third Saturday of every month in the conference room in the basement of Building 500.

The E-9 Association's ladies auxiliary also meets on the third Saturday of each month at the convention center in Junction City.

E-9s and Family members are invited to attend the E-9 Association picnic from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m. July 25 at Moon Lake.

"We want to continue to be a part of the Army and armed forces and support the Soldiers and the Family members," Hearron said.

For more information on the association, visit