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    Celebrating 40 Years of Service

    Celebrating 40 Years of Service

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class John Brown | Lt. Col. Samuel Jones, with his wife of 34 years Cynthia by his side, listens to...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class John Brown 

    18th Medical Command (Deployment Support)

    For young Soldiers who raise their right hand and swear an oath to serve and protect the United States of America, dedicating themselves to a lifetime of service usually means striving to reach retirement eligibility and preparing for a second career after their service to the nation; but for Lt. Col Samuel (Sam) Leroy Jones, service to his fellow Soldiers and his country couldn’t be hindered by a letter of retirement eligibility.

    Jones, who currently serves as the Public Health Nurse for Civil Affairs and Clinical Operations for the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) on Fort Shafter, Hawaii, first enlisted into the Army in January of 1976 as an infantryman.

    After attaining the rank of sergeant in the infantry, Jones realized that he could better serve his fellow Soldiers in the field of medicine and reclassified to a practical nurse in 1979.

    Col. Ann M. Sammartino, the commander of 18th MEDCOM (DS), spoke about Jones’ service during a Celebration of Service ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on Ford Island, Hawaii, 29 March, telling a crowd of Soldiers, Family, friends the story of Jones’ career.

    Sammartino explained that Jones spent the first 17 years of his career enlisted which included service during the first Gulf War as a Licensed Practical Nurse at an evacuation hospital before earning a commission through the U.S. Army Medical Department commissioning program in 1993, “(This is) where he started a new career as an officer and Registered Nurse. . .a lineage of service that has taken him around the world and back again.”

    During his career, Jones has served in Honduras, Korea, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Germany, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, and now Hawaii.

    “When I asked what his biggest accomplishment has been throughout the last 40 years of active federal service, Lt. Col. Jones said that his marriage to his wife Cynthia has been his biggest accomplishment for the last 34 years,” said Sammartino during her remarks.

    Col. Celethia Abner-Wise, the Chief of Clinical Operations for 18th MEDCOM (DS), referred to Jones as a wonderful Soldier, leader, husband, father and grandfather who happens to be an Army Nurse who, “works hard but lives a balanced life through faith, family and fun; he is humble and selfless; we should all aspire to serve so many wonderful years to this great nation.”

    Abner-Wise also recognized Jones’ family during her remarks by telling them that, “without your love, support and sacrifices, achieving 40 years of service would have been much more challenging to accomplish and possibly not achievable at all; as service members, we cannot achieve greatness by ourselves, so thank you all very much.”

    Jones said that he could have never made it through 40 years of service without his faith and the support of his family, “My Christian foundation and family support has been the steadfast of being in the military to deal with anything that comes along; not everything is going to be 100% perfect so when those bad times, those difficult times, come along, that foundation has made the difference; without it, I don’t think I would have been around this long; I can’t imagine doing 40 years without my faith and my family.”

    Jones believes that successful young Soldiers should, “Be committed to what you are about to do; do your time and do it honorably and remember that there is always change and something new wherever you go that is different from where you were before.”

    “The opportunities that the military provided me and my family; to go places I would otherwise never see; and the experience of doing different things, that has made it all worthwhile,” said Jones.

    As Sammartino was wrapping up her remarks, she explained that roughly 1% of the American population serves in the military, but of that 1 percent, only an estimated 20 percent will actually serve until they are retirement eligible at 20 or 30 years; but Jones has served for twice the number of years required to reach retirement age.

    “If my math is even remotely correct, I’m estimating that Lt. Col Jones is among a group that represents about 1/1millionth of 1 percent of the American population,” said Sammartino.

    “So if I were to be accurate, you’re not one in a million; you’re more like one in 100 billion.” Sammartino said to Jones as the crowd rose to a standing ovation in recognition to Jones’ service.



    Date Taken: 03.29.2016
    Date Posted: 04.05.2016 16:32
    Story ID: 194454
    Location: HONOLULU, HI, US 

    Web Views: 89
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    Celebrating 40 Years of Service