Lifetime service award presented to Fort Meade’s ‘Old Soldier’

Gerald O’Keefe, administrative assistant to the secretary of the Army, presents the Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Lifetime Service Award medallion to retired Sgt. Maj. Raymond Moran in a ceremony Friday morning. (Photo by Michael Stylianos)

Retired Sgt. Maj. Raymond J. Moran was presented with the Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Lifetime Service Award in a ceremony attended by family, friends, and state and Army representatives.

The 30-minute event was held Friday morning at Mission BBQ in Crofton.

Known affectionately as Fort Meade’s “Old Soldier,” Moran, 87, and his wife Barbara, 84, greeted well-wishers before the ceremony. The couple, who reside in Odenton and have been married for 64 years, posed for selfies and digital photographs.

“I’m very grateful,” Moran said. “It’s good to be with so many friends and family. We all love the Army. I’m so proud to be here.”

Distinguished guests included retired Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston, former Sergeant Major of the Army; retired Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, former Army G1; George Owings, secretary for the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs; and Denise Nooe, deputy director of outreach and advocacy for the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs.

Moran’s adult children Raymond and Roberta Moran Peer also attended, as well as Peer’s husband, Bob Peer, and their children Chris, Annie and Sarah Rose.

Gerald O’Keefe, administrative assistant to the secretary of the Army, presented the award medallion and certificate to Moran.

Matthew Ponton, chief of the Administrative Support Branch of the U.S. Army Force Management Support Agency, served as emcee.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Bowie State University posted the colors. Technical Sgt. Nadia Fisher of the 70th Operations Support Squadron sang the national anthem. Retired Cpl. Joseph Ponton, a Korean War veteran, gave the invocation.

In his remarks, O’Keefe said the Army has been Moran’s “love and his passion.”

“This is truly a significant achievement,” O’Keefe said. “ … The strategic impact that you have had on the U.S. Army cannot be understated.”

O’Keefe said Moran has been a role model to countless men and women whom he recruited for the Army and had later become leaders.

A Leader By Example

The Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Lifetime Service Award is one of the highest honorary awards for service to the Army.

The secretary of the Army established the award in 2009 to pay tribute to Trefry for his exemplary service and dedication to the Army and the nation for more than 65 years, according to the award citation.

Moran was nominated for the award by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

In his nomination letter, Snow wrote that Moran “is a leader by personality and sterling example.

“Soldiers such as he are the steel that keeps the Army strong. By temperament and personality, he has lived both the ‘Soldier’s NCO and Civilian’s Creed.’ He has made us a better Army and a better nation.”

Moran is the third recipient of the award, which is given to an individual whose “exemplary ethos” and “lifetime of extraordinary selfless service to the Army” mirrors Trefry’s service and dedication, Ponton said as he read the award criteria.

The recipient “must support and promote consistent professional advancement and development of the military and civilian personnel” and “exhibit a broad and significant effect on the Army at large through a longstanding commitment to innovation and leadership.”

Trefry, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, retired from the Army after 33 years and later served as the inspector general of the Army for six years under three chiefs of staff and secretaries of the Army.

In 1990, Trefry served as the military assistant to President George H.W. Bush and directed the White House Military Office during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Trefry later chaired a group chartered by the vice chief of staff of the Army to study Army force management processes and systems. The study resulted in the establishment of the Army Force Management School at Fort Belvoir, Va., in 1995. The school trains Army officers, noncommissioned officers and Department of the Army civilians in Army operations.

Today, Trefry, 93, is a trustee emeritus at the American Public University System.

A Well-Deserved Honor

After the ceremony, Preston said the award for Moran is “very well-deserved.”

Preston said he came to know Moran personally several years ago when he served as the Army’s sergeant major and was invited to speak at engagements for Fort Meade’s Francis Scott Key chapter of the Association of the United States Army. Moran is a member of the chapter.

Both Trefry and Moran, said Preston, have made significant contributions to the Army and the nation.

“Moran is the epitome of what this award stands for,” Preston said.

Moran served 30 years on active duty after enlisting in the Army in 1948. He served in post-World War II Japan and during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Moran is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. After volunteering to return to active duty following his retirement, he served during Operation Desert Storm.

Since 1951, Moran served on and off for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, including as command sergeant major for the 1st Recruiting District at Fort Meade.

In 1978, Moran retired from the Army and worked as a civilian recruiter with the Baltimore Recruiting Battalion.

Since 2012, Moran has served as a civilian Army volunteer recruiter.

On behalf of Gov. Larry Hogan, Owings presented Moran with a state flag that flew over the Maryland State House in Annapolis. Nooe presented Moran with a book on the Army’s mission in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

After the award presentation, O’Keefe, Moran and Brittney Andrews, 19, a cadet in the ROTC at Bowie State University, cut the ceremonial cake.

Peer said she is proud to be the Old Soldier’s daughter.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic and I feel [the award] is well-deserved,” she said.

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