Thursday, August 13, 2009
HS Alderman Calvin James honored with ceremony upon official military retirement
By Charita Marie James
On July 30, Representative Kelvin Buck (District 5, Benton and Marshall Counties) visited the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Fort Campbell, Ky., to attend Holly Springs Alderman Calvin E. James’ official military retirement ceremony.
During his visit, he had the opportunity to meet and have lunch with three soldiers who are stationed there and from various locations in the state of Mississippi.
The soldiers were Sergeant Gabriel Locastro of Tupelo, Private First Class Glenn Roberts of Gulfport, and Specialist Christopher Peppers of Rolling Fork. During the meeting, each soldier expressed their sincere appreciation to Rep. Buck for taking the time to sit and talk with them.
Additional attendants of the visit were James’ father, Willie James Sr.; his children, Charita and Calvin Jr.; alderman Harvey Payne, Lenell Lucas, Patricia Powers, and Odessa Haywood.
Senator Bill Stone (District 2, Benton, Marshall, and Tippah Counties), mayor Andre DeBerry, and supervisor George Zinn (District 4, Marshall County) were unable to attend due to prior commitments.
Rep. Buck also had the grand opportunity to sit and speak with Major General Jeffrey J. Schloesser, the commanding general of this elite division, during the retirement ceremony. He expressed his love and admiration for all soldiers serving in uniform today and the superb job they are conducting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rep. Buck himself is a former Marine; therefore, he understands the high demand of training, discipline and dedication the soldiers are required to possess during these difficult times of war.
James’ official retirement date was December 1, 2007; however, he had to postpone his official ceremony because the division was deployed both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rep. Buck, as well as the commander general of the division, commented on Alderman James’ final words of wisdom to impart to the Army as he departed the ranks. They both expressed the sincerity, compassion and the emphasis he used.
His final words to the Army were, “Never give in; see it through. When you’re up against an obstacle, meet it squarely -- face to face. Lift your chin and set your shoulders; plant your feet and take a brace. You may fail, but you will fall, still fighting. Don’t give up and whatever you do, keep your eyes front and head high to the finish line. See it through!”
Alderman James retired after serving 25-plus years as a first sergeant and served as the ranking enlisted soldier of a company. A first sergeant must have a high level of competence, energy, and motivation, and must be able to communicate effectively. He promotes enlisted welfare, morale, and health issues; helps the commander maintain discipline and standards of conduct; and provides guidance on matters of leadership, military justice, and customs and courtesies. A first sergeant’s professional conduct and appearance must be exemplary.
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