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Why I Serve: Relatives Paved the Way

By Tam Cummings
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT HOOD, Texas, Nov. 4, 2004 – "My grandfather was a World War II veteran and my uncles served in Vietnam," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ron Riling, 4th Infantry Division's top ranking enlisted soldier.

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Command Sgt. Maj. Ron Riling is the senior noncommissioned officer for the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"I saw the respect the community and my family gave them and the pride they had in serving their country," he said, "and I knew that's what I wanted to do."

"I'm proud to be a soldier, to be part of the team and family that serves our country," Riling noted.

"Serving with our leaders and our soldiers throughout the division is the best thing about my job," he said. "There is awesome teamwork among the soldiers. This is truly a family. We've got great leaders and great soldiers and that makes a great team."

Riling's duties as the 4th Infantry Division's command sergeant major helps the "Ironhorse" troops accomplish their missions daily.

"I'm the [commanding general's] eyes and ears. I'm responsible for the training, health and welfare of the soldiers. It's my job to look out for the soldiers and their families," he explained.

Riling said while he and his family have been separated for varied periods of time during his career, the greatest sacrifices have come from his soldiers and their families.

"I'll share the 9/11 experience with my children and my grandchildren," Riling said. "And I'll tell them about the things I saw in Iraq and in Fallujah. But I want them to remember the sacrifices made by our soldiers. The sacrifices made by the soldiers we've lost hurt, but we won't forget them or their families."

(Tam Cummings is news editor for the Ft. Hood Sentinel newspaper.)

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Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling

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