MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
The year was 1983. Ronald Reagan was president. The Philadelphia 76ers won the National Basketball Association championship. The TV show MASH ended after 11 years and 251 episodes on CBS. The price of gas was $1.17 per gallon and Amando Ruiz III joined the Marine Corps.
On June 16, 27 years and nine months later, in a retirement ceremony held outside of the Base Conference Center in front of Marines, civilian-Marines, family and friends, the lieutenant colonel, deputy director, Supply Management Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, retired.
During the retirement ceremony, Col. Ben Braden, chief of staff, Logistics Command, and retiring official, said officers are measured by the Marine Air Ground Task Force model and Ruiz measured up to this task.
Braden highlighted Ruiz’s career and accomplishments as a supply officer by saying, “He is an outstanding Marine in every way. I have come to respect and count on his guidance as a logistician and supply officer. When he speaks, everyone listens.”
Braden ended his speech using a quote from for mer President Ronald Reagan, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem.”
“You don’t have that problem,” he said. “On behalf of our country, Corps, commanding general and I, thank you. Semper Fidelis.”
Ruiz’s two biggest challenges in his career were his two biggest accomplishments, he said.
“I was a supply officer during Overseas Contingency Operations and was tasked with keeping track and gaining rapid accountability of all the gear in theater,” he said. “Also, I had to account for the personal effects of Marines wounded or killed in action. We were able to establish a system and process which later was incorporated into a Marine Administrative Message to move the effects in a timely manner.”
Ruiz, who considered himself to be well traveled, likened the Marine Corps to sharpening knives.
“To remain sharp, you have to rub against other sharp knives,” he said. “I do not know who I would be today if it were not for the Marine Corps. I have worked for, worked with and have had Marines work for me who were some of the brightest and smartest people I know. You find yourself becoming a better Marine and person because of the experience of working with other people.”
As he shut off his computer and locked the door the last time, he gave some parting comments to young Marines and those wanting to join the Corps.
“The Marine Corps gives you the unique opportunity to work with the best people,” he said. “You cannot put a price on that.”
The Marine Corps, back then and even today, is a great place to start as young adult, according to Ruiz.
“It’s important for all us to continue to preserve the Marine Corps,” he said. “We, the Corps, are smaller than the other branches of service and the requirements to stay in the Corps are harder,” Ruiz continued. “The Corps is unique because it allows you to remain younger than your actual years because you are surrounded by the next generation of Marines. They keep you mentally and physically young.
“Each generation of Americans that joins the Corps is a little bit different, but ultimately become the same as everyone before them,” he added. “I don’t think the Marines have changed, and as far as dedication and Corps values, I think the Marines are still the same as they were when I joined.”
Ruiz, deputy director, Supply Management Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, was born in Harlingen, Texas, in 1958 and graduated from Harlingen High School in 1976.
He attended and graduated with honors from Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas, in 1981 where he majored in both history and government. He then accepted a position as a teaching assistant at the university and pursued a Masters Degree in government.
However, before completing his degree, he enlisted in the Marine Corps on Nov. 18, 1983.
Ruiz completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., and then transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he obtained the military occupational specialty, legal services specialist. In August 1984, he received orders to his first duty station, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif., where he was assigned to the Staff Judge Advocate’s office.
In April 1986, Ruiz, then a corporal, transferred to Marine Barracks Subic Bay, Philippines. While there, he was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program.
Trading in his corporal chevrons for gold bars, Ruiz completed Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va., and was commissioned a second lieutenant on Aug. 15, 1986.
In April 1987, Ruiz completed the Basic Officers Course and received his new MOS, supply officer, in September of the same year.
Ruiz began his career supporting Logistics Command in Barstow, Calif., and as fate would have it, he ended his career in the same command.
Ruiz’s future plans are to move back to Texas with his wife of 24 years, Norma Kathryn Ruiz. After settling in, he wants to become a little league baseball coach. He is still mulling over the name of the team and the color of the uniforms.