Frederick, MD --
After 20 years of service in the Marine Corps, Gunnery Sgt. John D. Ward retired during a ceremony in Frederick, Maryland, Sept. 25.
“(Gunnery Sgt.) Ward is a mature, dedicated and compassionate leader who is grounded by a strong moral character, tempered with experience. He served this command with distinction, providing the Marines of his (Recruiting Sub-Station) with steady and dependable leadership over many years,” said Maj. Paul Bock, commanding officer of Recruiting Station Frederick. “He came home with his shield and fought for his unit till the very end.”
Ward, a native of Rome, New York, graduated from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, in 1993. He then joined the Marine Corps where he completed Engineer Equipment Mechanic School at Court House Bay, North Carolina, to become an Engineer Equipment Mechanic.
That same year, he was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 in Beaufort, South Carolina, and in 1999 he was deployed to Norway in support of Battle Griffin 99. In June of 1999, he transferred to 3rd Transportation Support Battalion Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, where he went to Gladstone, Australia, in support of Crocodile 99.
In May 2000, Ward was assigned to Headquarters & Service Battalion, Quantico, Virginia, where he became the Maintenance Floor Chief and Platoon Sergeant of the Guadalcanal Detachment.
In March 2003, he was assigned to Inspector/Instructor Staff, Bridge Company Bravo, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, where he served as the Heavy Equipment Chief and a Toys For Tots Coordinator. During this tour, he deployed to Al Kut, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His next assignment in 2006 was with 1st Marine Logistic Group, Maintenance Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as Engineer Floor Chief, Engineer Maintenance Chief and Platoon Sergeant. While with Maintenance Battalion, he deployed two more times to Iraq.
Ward attended the Basic Recruiting School in San Diego, California, in September of 2009 and was assigned to Recruiting Station Frederick where he served as a Canvassing Recruiter and finished his active duty tour as the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Rockville.
For his outstanding contributions to the Marine Corps and recruiting, Ward was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. The medal was awarded for his distinguished service to the Marine Corps and more specifically putting 203 contracts through RS Frederick.
“For those of you who don’t know, that is a whole company of infantry Marines,” said Bock when speaking to Ward’s guests.
Ward was quick to thank his family for supporting him throughout his years as an active duty Marine.
“Thank you for being there through everything, through all the deployments and even when I was home but wasn’t really there,” Ward said.
Retiring for a Marine can be an emotional experience, everything changes when you are no longer active duty, however Ward will always be a United States Marine.
Ward and his family will retire to Smithsburg, Maryland, where he will move on to the next chapter in his life.