FORT KNOX, Ky. (February 4, 2011) - Master Sgt.\'s Adam J. McKinney and Cornelius E. Smith officially retired during the Fort Knox Retirement Ceremony at the post's Leader's Club Jan. 28.

The ceremony honored the careers of 14 Soldiers and civilians from across Fort Knox who served at least 20 years of active federal service.

"This is a great occasion," said Col. Christopher D. Croft, the chief of the Force Sustainment Division for the Human Resource Center of Excellence and host of the ceremony. "This is a graduation ceremony of sorts for you. Today, you graduate from the Army."

Not only did Col. Croft thank the Soldiers for their service and sacrifices over the years, but he thanked the Families for their dedication to their Soldiers during their time in service.

After 25 years of service, Master Sgt. Smith says he feels as if he has "plenty left in the tank", but realizes that it is now time to focus his attention on his Family.

"I'm really anticipating being able to spend more time with my children now that I'm retired," said Master Sgt. Smith, a native of Greeleyville, S.C. "I plan to take a break from the workforce for a while and focus on my Family."

Master Sgt. Smith, the senior logistics NCO during his time with the 3d ESC, said that he mostly looks forward to the shift in responsibility of family duties from his wife. He explained that throughout his career, his wife has had to be a mother and father to their children because of duty assignments and deployments.

But now that he's retired, Master Sgt. Smith said that he can relieve her of some of the extra duties she's had to perform over the years.

Master Sgt. Smith said that his favorite duty assignment was his time as a drill sergeant here at Fort Knox. He said he enjoyed molding the Army's future leaders, but it was tough watching his former unit case their colors recently due to BRAC.

"Seeing the 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment case their colors here in December was something special for me," Master Sgt. Smith said of the basic combat training regiment which has since relocated to Fort Benning, Ga.

For Master Sgt. McKinney, impacting the lives of the Army's future leaders was important as well. For 12 of his nearly 22 years of service, Master Sgt. McKinney served as a career counselor and enjoyed "making a positive impact on the field."

He said now that he's retired, he plans to take some time off before re-entering the work force. Overall, Master Sgt. McKinney says he's been preparing for his retirement for the past few years, and feels as if all of the pieces have fallen into place perfectly.

"It feels great to be retired," said Master Sgt. McKinney, an Indianapolis native. "My family is settled here in Elizabethtown and I have future employment set up already so for me, everything has come together as planned."

Looking back at his career, Master Sgt. McKinney said he is pleased with how his career progressed over the years. He lists the time spent as an instructor for the career counselor course as his favorite assignment.

He also lists his time spent in the 3d ESC as one of his favorite assignments. When he recalled his arrival to the unit, he admitted to not knowing what a Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) was, or what it did.

"I remember coming to Fort Knox not knowing anything about what an ESC was, or what it did," said Master Sgt. McKinney. "But once we deployed and I began to get more of an understanding of what an ESC did, it was like working with a dream team and it felt great."