By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterJanuary 24, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 24, 2013) -- Dozens of friends, Families and coworkers showed their support during a retirement ceremony Jan. 18 at the U. S. Army Aviation Museum when Fort Rucker honored 12 retiring Soldiers and civilians.
The 12 retirees represented 317 years of collective service to the country according to officials who thanked not only the retirees for their service, but their Families who sacrificed "so much" as well.
"You supported your Family member through the good and the bad. The self sacrifice that you as Family members endured … makes you truly special people," said Col. Douglas M. Gabram, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence deputy commander.
Gabram recognized each individual for their dedication to duty and said that the civilian retirees are just as much a part of the Army as those who wear the uniform.
"These distinguished civilians and Soldiers represent the very best of America's Army. They are all professionals. It is quality people, like these, who without we could not accomplish all that we have. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. They have served our nation with pride and with a keen sense of values that sets them apart from other Americans.
"Be confident that the military you leave has improved every day and will continue to improve because those you have mentored will take your place. The Army is better because of your service," he said.
Col. Timothy J. Starke Jr.
Starke entered military service in April of 1986. He served in the Pentagon and overseas in support of operations Enduring Freedom, Desert Shield/Storm, Southern Watch and Desert Fox in Korea, Belgium, Qatar, Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He said the highlight of his career was having the opportunity and privilege to lead Soldiers in the service of our great nation. He and his wife, Deletta, plan to reside in Tallahassee, Fla.
CW4 James Stockton
Stockton entered military service in March of 1989. He has served multiple tours in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and has served in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Hawaii and Korea. He said the highlight of his career was having the love and support of his Family during four deployments and throughout his entire career. He and his wife, Nicole, plan to reside in Enterprise.
CW4 James Barrett II
Barrett entered military service in May of 1989 as a Marine. He has served overseas in Korea, Germany, England, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Qatar and Iraq, and served multiple tours in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He said the highlight of his career was being able to travel and experience the world and to befriend a number of America's truest heroes that have given the ultimate sacrifice. He and his wife, Marianna, plan to reside in Dothan.
CW4 William A. Haaren
Haaren entered military service in January 1981. During his career he served on active duty, Reserve duty and as a National Guardsman. He has served overseas in Germany and Korea, and has been deployed in support of operations to Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Kuwait and Kosovo. He said the highlight of his career was being the UH-60 instructor pilot course track chief entrusted with a platoon of the very best active duty and civilian instructor pilots responsible for training young Aviators to be instructor pilots. He and his wife, Deena, plan to reside in Enterprise.
CW4 Korry E. Brown
Brown entered military service in May 1993. He has served overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. He served multiple tours in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He said the highlight of his career was managing simultaneous sustainment operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He and his wife, Nickie, plan to reside in Atlanta.
CW4 Jamie Lee Ludholtz
Ludholtz entered military service in February 1993. He has served overseas in Kosovo and Germany. He also served multiple tours in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He said the highlight of his career was marrying his beautiful wife and being accepted and completing flight school. He and his wife, Angelica, plan to reside in Clarksville, Tenn.
Master Sgt. Sara Carter
Carter entered military service in August 1991. She has served overseas in Turkey, Germany, Honduras and Afghanistan. She also served in multiple combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Somalia for Operation Continue Hope and Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy. She said the highlight of her career was providing support for Task Force Normandy in support of the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, where she met many of the great men who participated in the invasion. Also, being a part of a team that provided medical evacuation during her deployment to Afghanistan. She plans to reside in Enterprise with her son, Robert.
Sgt. 1st Class Steve Leeper
Leeper entered military service in November 1990. He served overseas in Korea, Honduras, Iraq and Afghanistan. He served multiple tours in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He said the highlight of his career was fielding the CH-47 Foxtrot to the first four regular Army units. He and his wife, Leslie, plan to reside in the local area.
Sgt. 1st Class Darren S. Bartoe
Bartoe entered military service in October 1991. He served multiple combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. He has served as a man-portable air-defense system crewmember and vehicle driver, medical specialist, ambulance NCO, flight medic, air ambulance NCO and air ambulance platoon sergeant. He said the highlight of his career was marrying his beautiful wife and becoming a flight medic. He and his wife, Ila, plan to reside in Enterprise.
Irene J. King
King is retiring after nearly 39 years of distinguished military and civilian service. She served on active duty from 1974 to 1980 when she then entered civil federal service. She has served overseas in Germany. She said the highlight of her career was receiving the Honorable Order of Saint Michael and working with many wonderful people throughout the years. She plans to reside in Daleville.
Vanelsberg is retiring after 37 years of distinguished military and civilian service. He entered active duty in the coast guard in November in 1970 but also served as an Air Force Reservist. He has been a civil servant since 1987. He served in Hawaii, Germany and Fort Rucker. He said the highlight of his career was creating IMPAX Magazine, which focused on off-duty Soldier safety regarding driving, motorcycling and participation in sports and recreation. He and his wife, Karen, plan to reside in Enterprise.
Mary Ann Thompson
Thompson entered civil service in February of 1980. She served as a research team lead during Operation Desert Shield on a project that led to an Aviation night vision goggle desert training and operation guide, as well as a member of a team that developed the Army's first risk management field manual. She said the highlight of her career was working to save Soldiers' lives and keeping them free from injury. She plans to reside in Dothan.