Bainbridge native retires from Army

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2021

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Bainbridge native Master Sergeant Leonard Strickland was recently honored at his retirement ceremony on December 15, following 26 years of distinguished service in the Army.

Strickland enlisted as an active duty Cavalry Scout in the US Army in January 1994. Following his graduation from Basic and Advanced Individual Training in May 1994 at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Strickland was assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

While in Fort Wainwright, his assignments included A Troop, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, E Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment and he held positions as a HMMWV driver and gunner.

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He later went on to serve in E Troop, 1st Cavalry and an HMMWV truck commander and Senior Scout. In addition, he was in A Troop, 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and served as Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Leader. He was a part of the HHT, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment.

As Troop First Sergeant of HHT, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Division, Strickland led over 177 soldiers in combat in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Strickland was personally selected by the Commander and led countless logistics patrols in high volatile areas in order to enable mission success of other squadrons- without loss of soldiers.

Following his time in Operation Enduring Freedom, Strickland became a Senior Instructor and Master Resiliency Trainer for Battle Staff NCO Course at the US Army Sergeants’ Major Academy. There, Strickland’s efforts in retention and training increased course graduation rate to over 95 percent.

Upon completing his time as a Senior Instructor, Strickland served as the Operations Sergeant for 6-1 CAV, a 380 person Stryker Reconnaissance Cavalry Squadron. He seamlessly integrated operations, intelligence, communications, fire support and logistics for the Squadron Tactical Operations Center in combat in Afghanistan.

Finally, Strickland ended his time in the Army as a Senior Military Science Instructor at University of Southern Mississippi. As an instructor, Strickland tirelessly worked to recruit, retain, train and commission quality cadets. His efforts resulted in increased mission numbers, which pulled the ROTC program back up from a “non-viable” status to a “viable” standing.

During his tenure, Strickland recruited and trained more than 209 cadets and increased outreach to JROTC programs throughout the state.

During his retirement program, LTC Walker Nordan told Strickland he left an impression on the school, but more importantly the program.

“You’ve left an impression on all of us, especially the Army’s future leaders coming out this ROTC program, that will benefit the Army for decades to come,” Nordan said.

Nordan then presented Strickland with a certificate of retirement and a certificate of appreciation from the US President.

These certificates will go with the long list of awards and decorations Strickland has received over the years, including the Bronze Star, Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Valorous Unit Award and others.

Now that he is retired, Strickland told fellow officers he intends to spend time with his fiancé, Alice Barboza, son, Kenneth Strickland and parents, Barbara and Winston Strickland, while residing in El Paso, Texas.