ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- Family, friends, co-workers and distinguished guests gathered Sept. 29 at Rock Island Arsenal's Constitution Square to show appreciation to five Soldiers, past and present, receiving awards for outstanding military service and eleven members of the Arsenal community retiring.

Maj. Gen. Yves J. Fontaine, commanding general of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, hosted the ceremony and introduced the keynote speaker for the event, ASC Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen D. Blake.

Approaching retirement himself, Blake gave what he said was one of his last speeches as a top noncommissioned officer, extending his personal appreciation and admiration to the awardees and retirees.

"There are 16 individuals who deserve to be recognized, who deserve a moment of our time," said Blake.

Staff Sgt. Robert Wilkin, 2011 ASC Noncommissioned Officer of the Year "Best Warrior" and Spc. Calvin Williams, 2011 ASC Soldier of the Year "Best Warrior", were recognized for their outstanding performance in this year's NCO and Soldier of the Year competitions, held June 27-30.

"These are two simple awards for an extremely tough competition: five days and five nights of no sleep, back busting, road marching, taking the soles off their feet," said Blake. "If you're going to be a warrior and a winner, you're going to earn it, and I'm telling you these two fine, outstanding warriors - they have earned it."

Following the awards presentation, Fontaine and Blake honored and recognized veterans for their dedicated service. "Today we will pause to honor three legacy warriors, men who stood the line so we might continue to be free," said Blake.

James W. Landhauser, World War II Veteran, 3903rd Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron; Sam Kupresin, Korean War Veteran, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division; and Frank Arguello, Vietnam War Veteran, Company H (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne) were presented with a token of appreciation.

Six Department of the Army civilians and five Soldiers received decorations and gratitude, marking their retirement.

The retirees: Connie Moore, Acquisition & Continuous Improvement Office, Field Support; Kathrina Olson, G3 COIC senior plans analyst; Judith Marxen, G3 training manager; Jesse Ivy, team leader, Resource Integration, G8; Brenda Jones, logistics management specialist; Roger Fritz, division chief, G6; Lt. Col. Craig Schwartz, chief, supply division, Distribution Management Center; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Byron Sanders, G1 officer strength manager/human resources technician; Sgt. 1st Class Joshua L. Lamb, ASC Responsible RESET Task Force NCOIC; Sgt. 1st Class Leslie Wright, G3 training operations NCO; and Staff Sgt. Teresa L. Ortega, ASC Responsible RESET Task Force NCO -- have all served with distinction, said Blake.

The event concluded with a retreat ceremony including lowering the American flag and firing ceremonial cannon, signifying the end of the duty day.

"What a wonderful tradition," said Blake. "A celebration of service, as we honor these great families who have faithfully and selflessly served us and our nation.
It has been an honor to serve with you."