End of Term of Service Speech

June 23, 2009

Below is the speech I gave today when I was awarded the Army Commendation Medal as I leave the military.

Thank you for the kind introduction, Sir.

I quickly wanted to thank a few people who aren’t here. I do this so their accomplishments can be recognized the next time you see them, even if I am gone.

SFC Davis and SFC Cooper taught me a lot about being a soldier, an NCO, and how to take care of soldiers, and when that means rewarding or when that means being tough. Between those two NCOs, I learned no one has any excuse not to do well on PT, soldier skills, or office work. SFC Davis is still teaching me things 4 years later, and I am still running on the track, in marathons, and forward in life, thanks to SFC Cooper.

SGM Tyler is the epitome of what a paralegal and NCO should be, which is why he’ll shortly be the Regimental CSM. I don’t have to expand any further on that. Thank you SGM.

To the officers I’ve worked for, I want to thank you for all being such friendly professionals. When you show consideration of your subordinates opinion by going so far as to explain any improvements or changes necessary, that shows a lot of respect and care for soldiers, and it was deeply appreciated. You’d have every right to just tell me “Go and get this done because I told you to,” but you take the time to explain it to me. You will be successful with leadership like that.

The civilians in the JAG Corps are so different than the civilians you see working elsewhere. This is a good thing. From Mr. Parker’s efficient but excitable manner, to Christine Hauser and Beatta Korz’s kindness in helping me 100s of times. Thank you.

I am leaving the military after 4 years, and at times it has been a hard career. I can think back to Iraq, trying to bend my head around regulations that were not written to accommodate the Arabic custom of “inshallah;” all those court-martials full of witnesses who were not going to arrange for their own travel; hundreds of Article 15s and chapter packets, hundreds of clients who wanted to know if their Power of Attorney would really let their spouse do anything. And that was just the desk work, not the countless formations, vehicle maintenance, and flutter kicks, how I especially hate flutter kicks. Do I even need to mention the omnipresent sand in Iraq?

In spite of all that, I’d sign up for the last four years again in a heartbeat. The OSJA of 1st AD did some amazing things in garrison and in Iraq, and there is a large part of me that wants to go with yall again. No one will ever take that deployment away from us, and the amazing things we did there, with the support of the rear detachment and our families. Unfortunately, that part of me, my heart, is held on to by my family who are going through a troubled time, and need me to assist them back in Texas.

But I will be jealous every time I read the good news coming out of Baghdad in 2010, knowing this office is working behind the scenes to make the world a much better place. The first time a teenager says something too smart in my high school class, I’ll wish for the days of compulsory respect and the power to prescribe pushups. Every time I see Old Glory flying, I’m going to miss making that salute as I stroll by, because it will remind me of the 4 years I spent serving in America’s Tank Division.

Thank you all for helping me grow these important 4 years of my life, making it so memorable, and being my trusted allies, mentors, and friends.
May God bless you all.

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