After training thousands of troops for combat in a long career of service to his country, a Longview soldier has decided to call it a day. A ceremony was held today, to mark the retirement of sergeant Ben Gurganus. He served with the 36th infantry of the Texas Army National Guard, the Navy and the Army.
After 28 years of service to his country, Gurganus is retiring. "When you raise your right hand and you sign your name you're giving your word. It's been great," said Gurganus.
He's trained thousands of troops over his career. The men will continue fighting in conflicts around the globe. "The job here is you teach soldiers how to fight and survive on the battlefield. It's most critical because it's not just their life, it's the guy next to them," he said.
Seeing more troops possibly going to Iraq, he thinks of those he's trained. "We've had people deployed from here and we have people deployed from here right now. That's where it comes in. Did I do everything I could," Gurganus said.
"It's hard to lose someone of his capability his knowledge. It's tough," said his fellow sergeant Juan Perez.
He's served in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom, excelling at tank warfare, but the 36th is no longer a tank unit.
"Since the tanks have gone away its time for me to go away too," Ben said.
He was showered with gifts from his men and the community, and has the undying respect of his fellow soldiers. Sergeant Gurganus is pursuing a possible position with the Haliburton corporation locally.