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 Greg Rhoades Named Indiana's Active Duty Military Man of Year

July 16, 2008 - In the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott East Hotel in Indianapolis, giant chandeliers hung from the ceiling as patriotic music played from a piano. Rows of chairs lined the room as men from various American Legion posts across the state milled around. Amid the hub of the activity, a gavel rang a bell, indicating the start of the American Legion Department of Indiana’s 90th annual convention.

It was during this convention on July 11 that Knightstown resident Gregory A. Rhoades, Command Sgt. Maj. for the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was awarded the designation of Active Duty State Military Man of the Year.

Having been deployed to Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, in December 2007, Rhoades was unable to personally accept the award. However, he did make an acceptance video that was played during the conference on two large projector screens.

In the video, Rhoades commended the soldiers he was serving with, saying that they were his military men of the year as they worked to build programs for the infrastructure of a new country.

Before becoming the Active Duty State Military Man of the Year, Rhoades was first American Legion Post 152 Active Duty Military Man of the Year, and then went on to receive the same distinction for American Legion District 10. According to Carol “Jeannie” Rhoades, Rhoades's wife and senior administrative supervisor of the adjutant general's command section, the various nominations began with Jerry Jordan, chairman of the board of trustees for Post 152 and American Legion District 10 adjutant.

When Jordan approached her with the intent to nominate Rhoades as District 10's Active Duty Military Man of the Year, the two began to put together a nomination binder to submit for the award. According to Jeannie Rhoades, the binder contained four sections: professional career; community service; family; and letters of recommendation. The same binder was then used for submission for the State Military Man of the Year nomination.

According to Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the adjutant general for the state of Indiana's Army National Guard, Rhoades is the epitome of a soldier, leader and warrior and the kind of non-commissioned officer that always gets the job done right.

"He always has time for anyone needing help, always puts the care and welfare of those he leads -his soldiers - above all his own personal needs," Umbarger said. A Mishawaka native, Rhoades left Ball State University in 1977 after three years of education to enter the military. In 1998, he attended the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy in Fort Bliss, Tex., and prior to that took courses as a non-commissioned officer, personnel administrative specialist, medical specialist and finance specialist, just to name a few.

Throughout his military career, Rhoades has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the meritorious service medal with three oak leaf clusters, an army commendation medal with one oak leaf cluster, an army achievement medal, and a good conduct medal with a bronze clasp and five loops.

According to Jordan, one aspect that made Rhoades such a good candidate for the Active Duty State Military Man of the Year honor was his leadership and involvement in the Knightstown community and American Legion Post 152.

Rhoades, who served as the American Legion Post 152 commander from 2003 to 2005, was actively involved in the Henry County Veteran's Memorial Committee that helped to establish the veteran's memorial in Knightstown. He served as the master of ceremonies at the dedication and also arranged for the adjutant general to be a keynote speaker at the event and have the 38th Infantry Division Band from Indianapolis play.

Rhoades also serves as a volunteer for the annual National Guard Association of Indiana car show and the Knightstown Make a Difference car show. His other civic affiliations include being a member of the National Guard Association of Indiana, the Enlisted Guard Association of Indiana, and the Enlisted Guard Association of the United States. He also served as the Veteran's of Foreign War commander and quartermaster.

"He is a man of the highest moral and ethical values, has a work ethic above reproach, treats everyone he knows with respect, is a caring and kind and wonderful person and father as well," Jeannie Rhoades said.


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