U.S. Army celebrates retiring Arsenal employees with combined 175 years of service

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Brig. Gen. Gavin J. Gardner, commanding general, U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, awards Lt. Col. Richard Davila, plans chief, First U.S. Army, the Legion of Merit during the Rock Island Arsenal quarterly retirement ceremony held Sept. 30 in Heritage Hall (photo from U.S. Army).

At a recent Rock Island Arsenal ceremony, the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command celebrated the dedication and achievements of five retiring members of the Army team, who have a combined 175 years of service.

Brig. Gen. Gavin Gardner, JMC commanding general, honored the loyal and committed service of four Department of the Army civilians and one soldier — who gathered with their families at the quarterly retirement ceremony Sept. 30, according to an Arsenal release Tuesday.

“Retirement ceremonies are a longstanding tradition, and they’re important,” Gardner said. “They provide an opportunity to talk about the selfless service and sacrifices of our retirees for their long and honorable service to our nation. It’s a testament of their faithful execution to their duties to their Army, to their nation, and these five distinguished retirees have accomplished so much.

The honorees had served an average of 35 years apiece. Two, Tony Livingston and Vicki Barbour of JMC (headquartered at the Arsenal), served more than 40 years, starting in 1980.

“The culmination of their service is 175 years,” Gardner said. “One hundred seventy-five years of service to our nation is about to retire. And that’s important. I can assure you they have taken the time to coach, teach, mentor and lead the next generation. So while they go out the door, I have no doubt they have prepared the next generation. And I want to thank them for doing that as well.”

Awards and pins were bestowed on each individual. The soldier, Lt. Col. Richard Davila of First Army, was presented with the Legion of Merit along with a framed retirement certificate signed by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville. The four Army civilians — Michelle Jaco, Peggy Peterson, Livingston and Barbour, all of JMC — received medals, retirement awards and personalized notes from Gardner thanking them for their service.

Brig. Gen. Gavin Gardner, commanding general of U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, presents a Certificate of Retirement to Tony Livingston during the Rock Island Arsenal Quarterly Retirement Ceremony Sept. 30. Livingston, of Moline, retired as a lead ammunition technology specialist for the Demilitarization Directorate after more than 41 years working for JMC and its precursor commands (U.S. Army photo by Shawn Eldridge).

Gardner also highlighted the honorees’ loved ones for their years of dedication and encouragement for their family member.

“As every good soldier or DA civilian knows, the strength of us internally is the strength we get from our families, and it’s only right and proper that we would respect them up front,” Gardner said at the event.

“It is your steadfast love and loyalty that really enabled these great citizens and soldier to give back to their nation and support their nation,” he told the families. “So, we know that you have put up with a lot of late nights, PCSs [permanent changes of station] to places that you may or may not have liked, overseas tours and separations that took your loved one from your hearth and home, and we thank you for your sacrifice. But I can assure you, their roads to success would have been much rockier if not for your love and support. So thank you.”

The retirees recognized were:

  • Lt. Col. Richard Davila, who retired from First Army as a plans chief after more than 30 years in uniform. Davila, of Bettendorf, received the Legion of Merit.
  • Vicki Barbour, who worked for the Department of Defense almost 42 years and retired as an industrial base specialist at JMC. Barbour, of Rock Island, received the Civilian Service Commendation Medal.
  • Michelle Jaco, whose 35 years supporting the armed forces culminated as the secretary of JMC’s Organic Industrial Base Support Directorate. Jaco, of Galva, Ill., received the Civilian Service Achievement Medal.
  • Tony Livingston, a 41-year veteran of JMC and its precursor commands, retired as a lead ammunition technology specialist for the Demilitarization Directorate. Livingston, of Moline, received the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.
  • Peggy Peterson, who retired as the executive administrative specialist for JMC’s deputy to the commander, chief of staff and command sergeant major after 27 years of federal service. Peterson, of Alpha, Ill., received the Civilian Service Commendation Medal.

JMC and its 17 subordinate arsenals, depots and ammunition plants produce, store, distribute and demilitarize all conventional munitions for the U.S. Department of Defense. The enterprise is accountable for $59 billion of munitions and missiles, the release said.

For more information, visit the JMC website.

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