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    NMARNG Chief of Staff retires after 34 years of service



    Courtesy Story

    200th Public Affairs Detachment

    SANTA FE, N.M., -- The New Mexico National Guard honored retiring Chief of Staff Col. Daniel Stark with a ceremony at the Regional Training Institute here, Sept. 11.

    Stark’s wife Michelle; Maj. Gen. Kenneth Nava, the Adjutant General of New Mexico; and senior leaders from both the Army and Air National Guard attended.

    “It’s a bitter-sweet moment for me,” Nava said. “Dan Stark was one of my Officer Candidate School (OCS) classmates.”

    Stark served in the U.S. Army for 34 years, beginning his distinguished career in 1986 as an active duty mortar- qualified infantryman. He commissioned as a second lieutenant in the NMARNG, graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1992 alongside Nava. Stark completed the Air Defense Officer Basic Course at Fort Bliss, Texas, as Honor Graduate and Iron Man.

    Stark’s first assignment as an officer was as a platoon leader in Bravo Battery, 4th Battalion, 200th Air Defense Artillery. He went on to hold several command and senior staff positions in the NMARNG, notably as Chief of Plans at the 111th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, commander of the 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry, and commander of the 515th Regiment (Regional Training Institute).

    Stark has graduated from a number of military schools, including the U.S. Army War College Senior Service College and Joint Professional Military Education Level II, the Combined Arms Service Staff School, and the U.S. Army Airborne and Air Assault Courses.

    Stark has also earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters (OLC), the Army Commendation Medal with four OLC, and the Expert Infantryman Badge.

    At the ceremony, Stark received a Legion of Merit and a New Mexico Distinguished Service Medal for his devoted service to the state and nation. He also received gifts from his colleagues as a thank you for his service.

    “Dan is a very smart individual,” Nava said. “When I was looking for somebody to replace my last Chief of Staff who retired, Col. Stark was the right guy for the job.”

    One of his colleagues, Maj. Tabitha Baker, secretary to the General Staff, presented Stark with a towel, recalling a story of how she had forgotten to bring a towel with her when she was in OCS, resulting in Stark questioning the mishap. The anecdote became a running joke between the two over the years.

    “I appreciate the hard work you did as Chief of Staff,” said Brig. Gen. Miguel Aguilar, the Deputy Adjutant General. “A lot of times it’s about picking the right person at the right time to do the job. You were exactly that person.”

    Stark reflected on his career and thanked his mentors and leaders for allowing him to be the Soldier he is today.

    “I can’t begin to express how much this means to me,” Stark said in his emotional speech. “Sort of a sad resignation, a bit of exhilaration looking forward to the future, humility for all that you are saying about me. You guys are just making this so special.”

    Stark also thanked his wife and children for being by his side during his many years of service.

    Michelle received a certificate and a bouquet of flowers as thanks for her own sacrifice and dedication to her husband’s career.

    “It’s our time now,” Stark said to his wife. “I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. I just love you. Thank you.”

    Stark plans to spend more time with his wife in Las Cruces and go golfing in his retirement. He even received golf balls for that purpose.

    “I can’t think of any way better to culminate my career by serving in this capacity and allowing me to give back to this wonderful organization,” Stark said.



    Date Taken: 09.11.2020
    Date Posted: 09.29.2020 07:49
    Story ID: 379252
    Location: NEW MEXICO, US

    Web Views: 251
    Downloads: 1