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NEWS | Feb. 26, 2024

Macomb Soldier Retires After 20-Year Career

Illinois Army National Guard Master Sgt. Kenneth Ray, of Macomb, retired following a 20-year military career Feb. 25 at the Illinois Military Academy on Camp Lincoln, Springfield.

“Master Sergeant Ray is a subject matter expert, and a linchpin of the RTI,” said Lt. Col. Nick Camardo, Commander, 1st Battalion, 129th Regiment (Regional Training Institute). “He is a tactical expert with 20 years of experience. Congratulations on your retirement.”

Ray enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard on Dec. 20, 2003 as an administrative specialist. During his military career, Ray deployed to Egypt in 2010-2011 in support of the Multinational Force and Observers and to Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar in 2020-2021 in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.

Ray’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal third award, Army Achievement Medal second award, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal fifth award, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device second award, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development ribbon fourth award, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon second award, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon third award, Illinois National Guard Lincoln Medal of Freedom second award, Illinois National Guard Long and Honorable Service Medal second award, Illinois Military Attendance ribbon tenth award, and the Illinois State Active Duty ribbon.

“Twenty years seems like a long time, but it has flown by,” said Ray. “I’ve been to a lot of cool places and met a lot of great people over the last 20 years.”

Ray thanked his family for their support over the years.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family,” he said.

Even though Ray has hung up his uniform, he told friends and fellow Soldiers he’s only a phone call away.