Soldiers who served together over 2 decades end military careers together, too
(KWTX) - Two decorated soldiers whose military careers intersected frequently over two decades of service in the U.S. and abroad including stops at Fort Hood, ended their careers on April 7 by picking up retirement papers together.
It was an emotional moment for First Sgt. Almasi Gill and Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Jones who began their military careers as teenagers and retired with nine deployments, seven children and a lifetime of stories between them.
“We shed some tears,” Gill said.
“We definitely shed some tears,” Gill said.
“They were tears of joy. Tears of the unknown as well because we’ve been doing this together since we got out of high school.”
“It was a beautiful thing,” Jones added.
Jones joined the army in 1995 at the age of 19 following graduation from Mansfield High School.
He was first stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
A few years later, Gill, who grew up in Paris, joined the military at 18 and was stationed at Fort Hood.
In 2000 the young soldiers met at the same duty station in Germany.
“We linked up in Baumholder, Germany and young knuckleheads from the country running around in Europe having a good time,” Jones said.
Gill and Jones were never in the same unit, but they did end up at the same duty station on more than one occasion, including Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia and then in 2017 at Fort Hood.
“We pretty much have been in the Army together for roughly 20 years,” Gill said.
“Ten years at the same duty station but we kept in contact all the other time.”
Both soldiers were highly decorated for their time serving the country.
Gill received the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Iraqi Campaign Medal as well as the Meritorious Unit Citation Award.
Jones retires with four Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Accommodation Medals and an Iraqi Campaign Medal.
The soldiers had no idea they’d retire at the same time until a recent phone conversation.
“We were talking about timelines and he was like ‘when do you pick up your papers? When’s your final retirement date?’’ Gill said.
“I said, 31 July and he said ‘that’s the same as mine, too.’”
The two also had accumulated the same amount of leave.
“We both had three months of what we call terminal or transitional leave so I told him ‘I can get them 7th of April,’” Gill said.
“He said, ‘I pick them up on the 7th of April, too.’ It was crazy how it all lined up.”
Gill and Jones won’t officially retire until Aug. 1, but they already have big plans.
Gill has four children, two in college and two at home.
His wife is also in the Army and hopes to retire soon.
He said at one point there was a five-year period where they were deployed one after another.
He plans to do some volunteer work for at-risk youth in the community and focus on his family.
And so does Jones who is also married and has three children.
He hopes to travel a lot more, too.
When asked if the friends in uniform of nearly 25 years plan to spend time together in retirement the answer was easy.
“Oh yes,” Jones said.
“He’s a brother for life.”
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