Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Longest Serving Guardsman Retires After 40 Years

Coast Guard Sector Miami is scheduled to hold a retirement ceremony for Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer Roger "Buck" Ward at 10 a.m. Friday at the Miami Beach Coast Guard Base. No one else serving in the Coast Guard today has an earlier enlistment than Ward. Ward enlisted Jan. 31, 1966. Ward trained and prepared crews assigned to Miami based patrol boats deploying to serve in Iraq. Ward served aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Minnetonka which patrolled the coast of Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict. During his last assignment at Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, N.C., Ward was instrumental in the "start-up" or commissioning of the Coast Guard's Special Mission Training Center where Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps boat crews trained in coastal warfare tactics. During his tenure the Training Center staff grew from six to 100.
Master Chief Petty Officer Roger "Buck" Ward
The former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James L. Jones and former Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thomas Collins named the Coast Guard barracks at Camp Lejeune after him in a 2002 ceremony. As the last active duty member who sailed on 255-foot Owasco class cutters, Ward is a service icon and was the keynote speaker at the 255 reunion in Las Vegas, Nev., during the summer of 2005. Forty years of active duty and reserve service culminated in his nomination for the 2006 Munro Inspirational Leadership Award.

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