CWO4 Eddie Ricord is returning to civilian life and his home state of Colorado after a 34-year career in the U.S. Army which took him to Central America, South America, Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.
"I went on active duty to see the world, and I did," Ricord said in a phone interview from Germany.
Ricord grew up in Cedaredge and Hotchkiss and has fond memories of competing in Little Britches Rodeo and hunting with his father and grandfather, a barber in Delta who went by the same name — Eddie Ricord.
His great-grandmother was the first white child born in Delta County. The state's first game warden is also part of his family lineage, which includes miners and farmers dating back to the 1800s.
"Delta County is pretty special to me," he said.
Ricord left Hotchkiss when he was a freshman in high school and later graduated from Longmont High School. He returns as often as he's able to visit his grandmother, Edna Aldridge, who lives in Cedaredge, as well as an uncle in Montrose and aunts in Olathe and Hotchkiss.
Ricord joined the Colorado National Guard at the age of 17 and later attended Mesa State for a year and a half under the ROTC program before going on active duty. Why the Army? "What else is there? The Army is #1."
Ricord enlisted as a radio operator and paratrooper. After completing schooling, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. In November 1985 he volunteered for Special Forces training and later qualified as a medical NCO. In 1992 he was selected to attend the first Special Forces paramedic course for Special Forces medics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. That was just one of several civilian courses he completed to enhance his Special Forces operational capabilities. During the course of his career he also received military training in leadership, munitions, personnel recovery and planning, naval amphibious assault landings, cold weather operations, anti-terrorism/intelligence, and military freefall.
He was deployed in support of Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), Operation Provide Relief (Somalia), Operation Restore Hope (Somalia), Operation Joint Guard (Bosnia and Kosovo), and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He has received an impressive number of awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Joint Service Commendation Medal.
His work as an instructor, training advisor and mentor has impacted thousands of his fellow soldiers. As a civilian, he teaches motorcycle safety courses.
Ricord is still in his early 50s and says his wife Lori won't let him stay retired for long. He plans to take a break and celebrate retirement with his family, which includes seven grown children and eight grandchildren. "Then I'll go out there and see who's willing to hire somebody with my background. My wife says it has to be a no-stress job."
Ricord is also looking forward to riding his motorcycle, fishing and hunting. He and his wife Lori own a home in Cañon City.blog comments powered by Disqus