News: Retirees inducted into Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor
Story by Capt. Joy Staab
MADISON, Wis. — Retired Sgt. Maj. Gary Hans of Jefferson, Wis., and retired Brig. Gen. Bruce Schrimpf, a longtime Milwaukee resident now living in Cedarburg, Wis., were inducted into the Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor during an induction ceremony on May 5 in Madison.
Induction into the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Hall of Honor is one of the National Guard's highest honors for devotion to duty and exceptional contributions to the organization. The award is also designed to promote esprit de corps through remembrance of Wisconsin's elite military heritage.
"What a great day for the Wisconsin Army National Guard," exclaimed the Deputy Adjutant General for Army, Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson. "Over the last 12 years we've had the pleasure of inducting 49 members into the Hall of Honor — 48 soldiers and one airman. And today we have the honor of inducting numbers 50 and 51. I don't think there could be two finer soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard to welcome into the Hall of Honor."
Schrimpf, who joined the Wisconsin National Guard in 1969 and spent the majority of his career as a judge advocate, was truly humbled to receive his induction into the Hall of Honor.
"To say that I'm overwhelmed is not quite right," Schrimpf remarked during his acceptance speech. "It's a wonderful thing to be part of this. I feel humbled, because these [other inductees] have done such remarkable things for the Guard."
Following the ceremony, Shrimpf said he believes his most significant contribution to the organization was caring.
"Care for people, care about what you're doing, care about the people you're affecting or not affecting," he said. "Just care and the rest comes."
Hans, who joined the National Guard in 1970 and advanced through the enlisted ranks during his 34-year career, said it's hard to pinpoint one particular contribution.
"You spend your entire career in the military, but you never think that any one thing that you did in your career is making an impact on anything or anyone," Hans said. "But, I think when you start accumulating everything and looking at the big picture of what you did, you look back and realize you did get quite a bit accomplished."
Anderson closed his comments by recognizing the important roles that family members play in the success of a soldier's career.
"Service of our soldiers could not be possible without the love and support of their families and loved ones," Anderson said.
Bruce Schrimpf enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1969, and was commissioned in 1979. He began his officer's career as a trial and defense lawyer, serving as an assistant and staff judge advocate at company and battalion levels and as judge advocate in the 32nd Infantry Brigade headquarters, and as staff judge advocate with State Area Command from 1992 until 2002. In this latter position, Schrimpf argued and won several cases important to preserving the adjutant general's ability to rely on federal regulations concerning personnel matters. He was instrumental in the transformation of State Area Command to Joint Force Headquarters, and played an integral role in updating the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2001. He joined Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in 1996, and continues to serve as a regional ombudsman. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two leaf clusters, and the Wisconsin National Guard Emergency Service Ribbon with numeral 2.
Gary Hans joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1970 and served 34 years, retiring as a sergeant major. After attending a school on the new TOW system, Hans developed a training plan to qualify all 60 TOW teams in the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry during annual training in 1980, achieving a 97 percent qualification rate. He was instrumental to his battalion's participation in the REFORGER exercises of 1986 and 1988. As the Wisconsin Army National Guard's personnel and administration sergeant major, Hans led the initial implementation for the Enlisted Promotion System. He also provided administrative guidance in processing thousands of soldiers for mobilization. In his present position as state coordinator for the Military Funeral Honors Program, Hans has grown the program from less than 1,200 funeral honors missions in 2004 to approximately 3,000 in 2012, managing a payroll and supplies budget of more than $1 million. Under his leadership, the Military Funeral Honors Team was awarded the Greater Madison Federal Agency Association "Employee/Team Award" in 2009. His military awards include four Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals and three Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbons.