Command Sgt. Maj. Abe Vega officially retired Dec . 22 after 30 years of service in the U.S. Army. A ceremony marking the event was held at the Fort Sam Houston Theater.

For family, friends, and colleagues, it served as a commemoration of his dedicated service over the years. Hosted by Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, Deputy Commanding General, Operations, Installation Management Command and former Commanding General, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, the event was attended by peers and mentors from Vega's past and more recent assignments.

Vega was quick to give praise and thanks.

"To all my leaders past and present: I either learned what to do, or what not to do, but without a doubt my leaders always taught me something" Vega said. "I've had the privilege to serve under great men and women, and for them I am eternally grateful."

Vega most recently served as the sergeant major for the Family and MWR programs division of IMCOM with responsibilities for the soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Entertainment. Prior to that, Vega served as command sergeant major for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.

"Maj. Gen. Jones, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your command sergeant major, Family and MWR Command," Vega said. "It was an honor and my distinct privilege to serve alongside you, taking care of our magnificent Soldiers, civilians and their Families."

Also attending the ceremony and recognized by Vega were Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt and Sgt. Maj. Abbott, both of IMCOM; Capt. Angel Ayala and Command Sergeants Major(ret.) Victor Garcia, Pedro Class, Terri Braddock, Andre Douglas, Howard Riles, Willie Ash, Earl Ware, Jackie McFadden and many others who served beside Vega.

"I owe all that I have attained first to God, but second to the excellent leaders who cared deeply for me," Vega said. "But I can't forget my peers who watched my back, and a lot of Soldiers who worked tirelessly to make me successful."

There is only one thing Vega has enjoyed in his life longer than his 30-year career with the U.S. Army and that is his marriage to high school sweetheart Vanessa.

"I owe a lot to my family whose love and support the past 3 decades has sustained me and been my source of renewal and strength," Vega said. "I've learned that when the parades have ended, family is all you have left."

Everyone experiences peaks and valleys during a 30-year career. From the looks on the faces at this ceremony, every moment was worth it to now private citizen Abe Vega, then and forever a blessed man.

Vega graduated from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Class 52. He also holds an Associate of Arts degree from Central Texas College and a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College.

Vega served as battalion command sergeant major at Fort Belvoir and garrison command sergeant major at Fort Myer Military Community.