News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Jan. 25, 2022

Oklahoma National Guard colonel retires after three decades of service

By Spc. Danielle Rayon, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Friends, family and fellow Oklahoma National Guard members honored the career of Col. Thomas W. Mackey in a retirement ceremony held at Joint Force Headquarters in Oklahoma City, Jan. 22, 2022.

Mackey was recognized for his outstanding service and legacy of leadership spanning his 34-year career with the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

"I’ve had the honor and the privilege of serving with some of the finest Soldiers in the world,” Mackey said. “I was given the responsibility to lead, teach, and train them in peacetime and in combat. Believe me, I took the responsibility seriously.”

Mackey began his career in 1987 as a generator repairman in 1120th Maintenance Company, Detachment 1, in Ada, Oklahoma. Nine years later, he would command the company in which he enlisted.

Mackey said he initially joined the Oklahoma National Guard to pay for his college education, but life had other plans. During his speech, he described the many officers, non-commissioned officers and individual Soldiers that coached and challenged him along the way, making him a better individual and a better Soldier.

Mackey deployed three times during his career between 2003 and 2012. Twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a special advisor to the Afghan National Army.

Mackey earned numerous awards during his three decades of service to include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal with ISAF Clasp and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

“The first award I ever received was the Soldier of the Year award as an enlisted [Guardsman], then the Battalion Soldier of the Year award,” Mackey said. “Those really mean something because they were the first two awards I ever received.”

During the ceremony Mackey had many people to thank. He expressed special gratitude for the support of his wife, Lynette.

“[She] is the one [person] who always supported me, who left cards, notes and pictures of the kids stashed away in my duffel bag,” Mackey said. “She helped me become the Soldier and person I am today.”

The importance of family to the Oklahoma National Guard and its mission was emphasized by Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, adjutant general for Oklahoma.

“We are a family,” Mancino said. “I really feel that.”

Mackey described the aspects of uniformed service he was going to truly miss in his retirement.

“I will miss being a part of a group of warriors who always strive to keep the Soldier’s Creed at heart, their minds sharp and their bodies ready for the task at hand,” Mackey said.
Video by Sgt. Anthony Jones
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