By Spc. Jeffrey Ledesma, 1st Cavalry Division Public AffairsMarch 14, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - Medals sat in perfect intervals across his chest, service ribbons clenched onto his freshly-pressed arm sleeve, laces held together his glossy dress shoes, while the big, yellow and black patch stood tall on his shoulder. But, sadly it would be the last occasion he would wear the uniform.
Now-retired Sgt. Maj. Larry Warren, the former top noncommissioned officer of the 1st Cavalry Division's G6 or information management section, said 'farewell' to his life in the military during a distinguished service and welcome ceremony on Cooper Field March 11.
"My desire to be around Soldiers is why I lasted so long," Warren said.
The 30-year-veternan said that one thing that drove his dedication was that each and every morning he got up he knew he was going to be confronted by a certain number of challenges that comes hand-in-hand with the task of taking care of Soldiers.
The native of West Palm Beach, Fla., entered the Army in September 1977.
"I joined because there was a better life for me than what I was doing," said Warren. "I really truly needed a change in my life and I got it within the military."
Warren said that one essential personal attribute he has gained in his career is discipline. He added that he has been blessed to be in for his 30 plus years and to have that discipline engraved in him because it's something that carries over into every aspect of his life.
"We all need discipline. With true discipline you can stay grounded and remain humble and with those tools you can drive on through anything and I feel it will make you a better person," he added.
The senior leader recently underwent the hardships of a 15-month deployment to the Iraqi capital. Although it was his second tour to a combat zone, he said, he has no regrets.
"At this time in my life there no complaints. I can't complain," he said. "I didn't have any hardship about the deployment or the fact that we were extended."
"I raised my hand to do my time and that's what I did," said Warren. "I didn't have any heartburn whatsoever."
During his recent deployment while most Soldiers were counting down the days until the end of their deployment, Warren said he was counting down the days until his retirement and for him that was incredibly difficult.
"The hardest part is knowing that tomorrow when I walk up I am no longer in the military," the father of two said. "Like anything else you enjoy doing in life you want to do it as long as you can, which made my last year the hardest because I knew I was getting out and I knew I'll never get to wear the uniform again. Tomorrow is going to be different for me."
But for his daughter that little bit of "different" is very much deserved.
"I am happy for him," said Cadet Crystal Warren. "He's been in for a very long time and he deserves this very much."
As the dedicated Soldier makes his exit his soon-to-be commissioned daughter makes her entrance onto the Army stage. Cadet Warren said her father, who has held so many leader positions, is the reason she is traveling down the road toward becoming an officer.
Sgt. Maj. Warren said that he feels great about her putting on the uniform because it opens so many doors and he hopes she continues to down this path.
"Thanks to my daughter for sticking by me because I know I am hard to live with, heck, I have a hard time living with myself," he joked.
Admitting to the fact that his daughter holds the key to his emotions, he said that he wants his daughter to understand how she has been a pillar of and he wanted to thank her for being there for him.
"I can honestly say that I'm really thankful for you being in my life," he turned and told his daughter out on the green parade field.
"He accomplished all this. He went to war. He came back. He pretty much accomplished what he had to and now we're done," a proud daughter Cadet Warren said. "It's been 30 years, 6 months, 15 days, some hours some minutes and we're done.
"Stick a fork in him - he's done."