An old soldier remembered.


I went to a memorial service on D-Day for a sergeant I served with as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve some years ago. SFC John Stegall ran the motor pool during my six years active in the reserves at the 549th MI BN in Austin, TX. His military service went back to 1954 and he put in 30 years or so.

He didn’t die of combat, but of disease in old age.

You haven’t likely heard of him, as he never really did anything that made it on the news. He just did his job, whatever the job was, as best as he could get it done.

I found out at the memorial that he set records for Lion’s Club toy drives for kids in shelters with that same attitude. He gave equal devotion when it came time to help homeless veterans with clothing and supplies as part of his service with the VFW. Awards for his public service were on display at the memorial, but the job getting done well was the reward he sought. He served in high leadership posts in these organizations, but was remembered for getting others to display their own potential to lead.

Few folks like Sergeant Stegall will ever be famous. They don’t seek the limelight; they just seek to get the mission accomplished. They will give an order with unquestioned authority or take one with a humble determination to succeed. It is folks like the Sergeant Stegalls of the world who made the military function.

I learned that SFC Stegall even took on a post-military second career late in life in the financial industry when a six-week part-time gig turned into 10 1/2 years. It seems he just became too valuable to ever let retire.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of the military knows you don’t salute sergeants, as they are non-commissioned officers. Yet, I just gave a sad salute to the memory of one tough old sergeant who made himself indispensable in any slot because the mission always came first.

Such people are actually fairly rare. We really need more of them these days. Now, with the passing of SFC John Stegall, we have one less.

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One Response to “An old soldier remembered.”

  1. JOHN CASTILLO Says:

    NO TRUER WORDS.SGT STEGALL WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A
    TRUE SOLDIER .HE WILL BE TRULY MISSED

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