August 18, 2010 – James Steward
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When James Steward arrived in Iraq before the war started, he was given strict orders.
"I was told by the Theater Command Sergeant that 'you are now in charge,'" remembered Steward. "Fix this base." "My question to him was, 'What needs to be fixed?' He stated to me, "If I knew that, then I wouldn't need you to fix it." 30,000 soldiers assigned...that was an awesome task."
Command Sergeant Steward then proceeded to prepare those soldiers for war. Having served 34 years in the Army Reserve has gotten Steward plenty of awards over the years. But none of them were as special as the "Legion of Merit."
"The Legion of Merit is something that I've always hoped that I could achieve. Only about 40% of Command Sergeant Majors serving today receive that award. So I'm very proud of it."
In fact, Steward says it's the highest peacetime award a soldier can receive. A Calcasieu Sheriff's deputy for over 25 years, this Gulf War veteran is a firm believer in military life.
"The military prepares you for civilian life. Whether you're a reserve component or active component. You take on a job anywhere. It's basically the same. The organization is set up the same. With the skills that you learn in the military, you can excel in civilian life."