SEMBACH, Germany – A senior logistics noncommissioned officer was honored Feb. 25 for almost 22 years of service during an award presentation hosted at U.S. Army NATO Brigade.
Sgt. 1st Class Terrance G. Stewart, of Springfield, Tennessee, received a Meritorious Service Medal from the deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, a certificate of retirement from the Army chief of staff and a presidential certificate of achievement from the president of the United States. Stewart was also presented a U.S. flag from his unit in honor of his faithful service and as a reminder of the Soldiers who will follow in his footsteps.
The host for the ceremony was Maj. Kenneth J. Grace, Jr., the deputy chief of staff G4.
During his career Stewart served with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the 1st Infantry Division and 172nd Infantry Brigade in Schweinfurt, Germany; the 316th Cavalry Brigade in Fort Benning, Georgia; and finally finished up his uniformed career in Sembach, Germany, serving as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the U.S. Army NATO Brigade G4 section.
Stewart deployed five times during his career: four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and one peace-keeping deployment to Kosovo.
Stewart’s speech at the end of the ceremony, which he read from prepared notes, bears publishing in its entirety to share with those who were unable to attend the event.
“First, I want to thank God for helping me make it through this almost 22-year career.
“When I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was a Soldier. I thought it was so cool. The slogans always got me because they stood out. From the time I was born all the way until I joined the Army, the slogan was ‘Be all you can be.’
“To me this meant if I join the Army, I can be anything I want.
“Next it was ‘Army of One.’ Now I’m thinking how could they come up with an even cooler slogan? I am that Army of One. After this the slogan was ‘Army Strong,’ and here I go again thinking I’m Superman.
“The mottos got me in and made me want to stay, but my true motivation was always the many mentors that I looked up to along the way. I think you learn the most directly from those you choose to be your mentors. So, from every mentor I have ever had I remembered their signature quotes and what that quote meant to me.
“My most important mentor was my grandfather, William Ogburn, God rest his soul. His quote was very simple ‘No one can tell you how hungry you are.’ I took this as you must always motivate yourself to be great.
“After my grandfather passed away my first military mentor was Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Gary Shuler. His quote was ‘you have to create a path that you want others to follow.’ I took this for exactly what it meant, lead by example.
“I had many more mentors in between but the signature quotes that caught my eye next came from Command Sgt. Maj. (retired) Phillips, who, yes, had to have two legendary quotes that resonated with me. ‘Pressure makes diamonds.’ I took this as the more pressure you put on a person to succeed the better the outcome will be.
“Her second quote was ‘never lose your seat at the table.’ To me this meant never forget your importance.
“My very last mentor but not least by any means is my wife, Rebecca. Her famous quote has always been ‘make it make sense.’ The one thing I have known from the first time I met her is that everything about her and I made sense. She has been my rock, my support, my strength, and the love of my life.
“Saying thank you to her would not be a big enough expression, but I will say thank you anyway. So, to my most distinguished mentors and all mentors I have ever had that I could not fit in this speech, thank you very much.
“You all applied the right amount of pressure to motivate me to excel in not only my career but in my life. I have now become a mentor to many others. This is my way of paying it forward, and if I was able to help at least one, my legacy and yours will live on.”
Maj. Stephen M. Coley, the former G4 at U.S. Army NATO Brigade was the guest speaker and served as Stewart’s supervisor for two years.
“Sergeant Stewart was always by my side,” said Coley. “No matter what, he was the epitome of a noncommissioned officer. Whether it was a good day or a bad day he always had my back.”
In addition to Stewart’s awards, his wife Rebecca, received a certificate of appreciation from the Army chief of staff for her unselfish, faithful and devoted service to her family and the United States Army.
Stewart currently studies logistics and supply chain management with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He plans to remain in Germany with his wife, Rebecca, and continue his career in logistics.