During his final drill weekend, Sgt. Todd Wilson, of Marceline, prepares one of his last meals for his fellow Soldiers of Battery B, 1-129th Field Artillery in Chillicothe. Wilson retired from the National Guard in October after 21 years of service. (Photo by Jennifer Archdekin/Missouri National Guard)
By Jennifer Archdekin
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. - After serving more than two decades with the Missouri Army National Guard, Sgt. Todd Wilson, of Marceline, reported to his final monthly drill with Battery B, 1-129th Field Artillery on Oct. 1 in Chillicothe.
In 1990, Wilson started his career with the field artillery as a cannon crewmember on the howitzer gun line. After a few years as a Citizen-Soldier, Wilson had the opportunity to help in the kitchen during an annual training. It was then he realized how much he enjoyed cooking and serving the troops. Soon after he changed his military job to be a cook, but knew his home would always be at the Chillicothe armory.
As the mess sergeant for the battery, month after month Wilson has served meals to an average of 100 Soldiers each drill, and on a daily basis during their two-week annual training. At the armory, Wilson typically was the only cook preparing the meals, with a couple of Soldiers assigned to help with the chores of cleaning the kitchen and serving the meals.
Working off a menu provided by the Army, and groceries purchased locally, Wilson made sure the Soldiers were fed well. Most of every meal was prepared from scratch, using a minimal amount ready-made food.
Looking back on his career, Wilson is proud of his service. He is honored to have served with the men at the armory, noting that is what he will miss the most.
"These guys we have here in the office, that's why I don't want to leave here," said Wilson. "They will do everything in their power to help you out in any way, shape or form. I don't just mean on the military side, I mean the civilian side, too. I'm going to miss those guys."
While in uniform, Wilson served 14 months in Germany in 2004-2005. He was again deployed for a year to Kosovo in 2008. Though he knew it was a possibility, Wilson admits that when he enlisted in 1990 the concept of being deployed was somewhat unheard of.
"I would have never thought I'd see half the world," said Wilson. "I would have liked to of had a third [deployment], but time ran out."
Wilson works in the bindery at Walsworth Publishing, in Marceline, and has been with them for 23 years. He is supported in his military career by his wife, Connie, of 15 years, and children, Clayton and Ashley.
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Sgt. Todd Wilson, of Marceline. (Photo by Jennifer Archdekin/Missouri National Guard)
Making their way through the chow line, Soldiers of Battery B, 1-129th Field Artillery congratulate Sgt. Todd Wilson (right), of Marceline, on his retirement from the National Guard. Wilson retired the next day after serving 21 years with the Chillicothe battery. (Photo by Jennifer Archdekin/Missouri National Guard)