“Do the right thing” is retired Master Sgt. Mark Anthony Hill Sr.’s guiding principle.
“In whatever you are doing, whatever situation you may find yourself in, do the right thing,” said Hill, who is now the Missile and Fires Division Fire Branch chief at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The Missile and Fires Division is one of six Fleet Management Expansion sites that fall under U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command’s Aviation Center Logistics Command.
“What inspired me to join the military is that I had a brother in the Marines,” said the native of Pontiac, Michigan.
Other than the brothers, there was no other family military history. “Just the idea to be able to travel and serve my country excited me,” he said.
Hill enlisted in the Army as a crewman for the Chaparral surface-to-air missile system but reclassified to heavy construction equipment repair, a field in which he remained until his retirement.
It’s no surprise that Hill, like so many others, had no plans to make the Army a career when he initially entered the service.
“I was enlisting three years at a time and, after I went over 10 years, I decided to complete my 20 years,” he said.
From basic training in Texas, Hill’s assignments took him to Fort Ord, California; Kitzingen, Germany; Fort Riley, Kansas; Hohenfels, Germany; and, ultimately, to Fort Sill – where he remains. He also saw deployments to Somalia, Bosnia and the Middle East.
“Leading my Soldiers on all three deployments and bringing all of them home safely was the greatest accomplishment,” he said.
The highlights of his career include the 18 months he was a first sergeant and the training it took to fill that role, attending the battle staff course and earning a master’s degree in human resource management through Webster University.
“I miss the comradery of military service; I think it's one of the most special things about serving in the military,” said Hill, adding that he hasn’t had friendships quite the same as he did when he was in the Army. “It's hard to explain other than I trusted them with my life. We served together and that bonded us. Now, even though we've all moved on and live in different parts of the country, we're still close because of that bond.”
Hill made the choice to leave the Army at the 20-year mark.
“My son was entering into his high school years and I was coming off a deployment from Iraq where my battalion commander was killed,” Hill said. “I decided that I needed to be around for my son to pour into him and help him transition into adult life.”
After retiring in 2004, Hill headed back home to Michigan where he became a Michigan State Police safety auditor for only a short time. He then worked as a plant manager for a major vehicle manufacturer before taking a position back at Fort Sill as a foreman for the Department of Labor.
His federal service began with the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command but he has now been at AMCOM for more than half of the 11 years he’s been an Army civilian.
“I manage all wheeled and artillery equipment for [the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine and Doctrine Command],” Hill said. “When I was in the military, I was responsible for managing all tactical equipment for 19th Maintenance Battalion to ensure it was fully mission capable and ready for training and wartime missions.”
Hill considers it a great award that his job still allows him “to be plugged in with the Soldiers.”
“I thank God for allowing me to have had the opportunity to serve in the military and to be able to continue to serve and support,” he said, adding that he is grateful for being blessed with a great career, his supportive wife, Marie, and his children, Ce’era and Mark Jr.