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NEWS | Feb. 26, 2024

Oswego Soldier Retires after 26-Year Career

Sgt. Maj. Kevin Driscoll, of Oswego, Illinois, retired from the Illinois Army National Guard Feb. 24 after a 26-year military career, including 22 years in the Illinois National Guard.

“You will be missed here,” Col. Shawn Nokes, Commander, 129th Regiment (Regional Training Institute), told Driscoll during a retirement ceremony at the Illinois Military Academy at Camp Lincoln, Springfield. “You have been a sounding board and a trusted advisor to me. You are a true professional.”

Driscoll, the 129th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) operations sergeant major, enlisted in the U.S. Army on Oct. 17, 1997 as an indirect fire infantryman. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2008-2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and again in 2019-2020 in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Nokes also thanked Driscoll’s family in attendance, wife, Shera, and children, Arreyana and Merrik, for their support of his service.

“The first time I met him, he told me his family was number one,” Nokes said. “He said he was married and had four beautiful children and was truly enjoying that aspect of life. That’s a testament for the support you have given him.”

Nokes thanked Driscoll for his years of dedication to the U.S. Army and the Illinois National Guard.

“The U.S. Army and the Illinois National Guard are better because you’ve been in it,” he said. “Today, it’s weaker because you’ve left. Your legacy will live on in the lives of the service members you have touched throughout your impeccable career.”

Driscoll, who is a police officer with the Aurora (Illinois) Police Department, said he had many people to thank for their support of his military service.

“Thank you to the military leaders who believed in me,” he said. “You allowed me the opportunity to grow into a leader, which was the best experiences I had during my time in the military. Thank you to the Soldiers who allowed me to lead them. Leading Soldiers became a passion of mine, and more importantly it taught me more than any school ever will.”

Driscoll also thanked his family.

“Thank you to my family who supported me through my initial enlistment and the next 26 years. I’m sure it wasn’t easy on them during my active-duty time, but I’m positive it was much harder on my wife and children,” he said. “This is as much for you as for me. Shera, you’ve been my rock. You stayed strong during my being gone for a year, but you did it during the worst transition for the kids.”

“Kids, thank you for sharing me with the Army,” he continued. “I missed out on a lot of weekends with you and a year of your childhood. I’ll never get that back, but I’m yours now.”

Driscoll offered advice to fellow Soldiers.

“I encourage you to seek growth. Train others and strive for leadership positions available to you. You will find a passion and success when leading others,” he said. “To my fellow noncommissioned officers – never forget what you signed up to do. The NCO creed is your guideline. Live by that creed and you will succeed. Take care of your Soldiers and they will take care of you.”

Driscoll urged the officers to let the NCOs train and lead their Soldiers.

“Don’t be a ghost,” he said. “Support and guide them to your expectations.”

Driscoll said in his 26 years of service, he has learned a lot of skills and gained a great deal of experience.

“I hope to continue to share with Soldiers looking for guidance, but most importantly, I hope to share that experience with my children,” he said.