From the Halls of Montezuma…to the Illinois Army National Guard?
Thirty-two years after earning the Eagle Globe and Anchor during boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in 1990, Illinois Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Kindred, of Jacksonville, Illinois, celebrated more than two decades of combined military service during a retirement ceremony March 18 at the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois.
“Today is a bittersweet day,” Kindred, who most recently served as the Human Resources Office Sergeant Major, told family, friends and fellow Soldiers. “It’s hard for me to grasp that I won’t wear this uniform anymore. Twenty-three years of my adult life has been in uniform.”
Following Kindred’s discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps, he had a break in service, working in a civilian career until his brother convinced him to join the National Guard.
Kindred joined the Texas National Guard as a software analyst before becoming an engineer and finding his way home to Illinois, serving in a variety of assignments, including 65th Troop Command, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion, and the 198th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
“This is a big day for the Kindred family,” said Maj. Gen. Eric Little, Director of Manpower and Personnel, National Guard Bureau, in Washington, D.C. “Paul and I go way back to 2003 when we were getting ready to deploy to Iraq.”
Little said not only during the deployment, but throughout his career, Kindred has kept him in check.
“I’ve learned a lot from Paul throughout that entire deployment,” Little said. “He has done a great job which has impacted many families, Soldiers and civilians.”
Kindred thanked Little for his guidance throughout the years.
“I’m very blessed to have you here,” Kindred said. “Your guidance and mentorship throughout my career has meant a lot to me.”
Kindred said although he knew his time in uniform was coming to an end, it doesn’t make it any easier to end his military service.
“There are a lot of emotions tied to today,” Kindred said. “I knew this day was coming for a couple of months but it was important for me to step aside and retire so other Soldiers can advance in their careers.”
Kindred said he is grateful for the leaders in the Illinois National Guard for allowing him to serve this long.
“I am grateful for the opportunities the Illinois National Guard has offered me and my family through the years,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful for the latitude to do my job as a senior non-commissioned officer.”
Kindred saved his final thank yous for his family.
“To my wife, Bobbie, your sacrifice got me here and I’m not sure I could have done it without you,” he said. “To my children, Justice, Cameren and Evan, I’m extremely proud of you and look forward to seeing more of your accomplishments in person.”
Kindred told the Soldiers gathered he was grateful for each one and offered a piece of advice.
“Leadership is not about a title or designation, it’s about impact, influence and inspiration,” he said. “To every Soldier I’ve had the opportunity to lead, mentor or develop, thank you for listening and thank you for allowing me to prove that my guidance was worth your time. To all of you who got me to this day, I will miss most of all the ability to be part of your lives.”
Following his retirement, Kindred will serve as the Casualty Operations Branch chief at Camp Lincoln.