retired Sgt. Maj. Elwood Imken’s service to the Texas National GuardCommentary by Sgt. Elizabeth Pena

Texas Military Department Public Affairs

Texas Guardsmen gathered to honor retired Sgt. Maj. Elwood Imken’s service to the Texas National Guard, June 30, 2016, during a ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.

“We’ve all been saying for the last 20 years, what are we going to do when Imken leaves, and today that day is here,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Smith, Deputy Adjutant General for Army. “We are going to have to figure that out and we have some pretty big shoes to fill to make all the things that 49 years of institutional knowledge has “

During the ceremony, retired Sgt. Maj. Imken thanked friends for attending the ceremony and gave five principles to live by.

  • Listen to people and listen to what they say.
  • Learn from others.
  • Teach the five W’s.
  • Use common sense and keep it simple.
  • Take care of your Soldiers

Imken began his military career in 1967, in the Texas Army National Guard. His career spanned every echelon from Platoon through Division and every level of leadership.

After honorably serving alongside Soldiers for 38 years, Imken immediately began working for the Texas Military Department as the Chief Training Specialist.

It was his plans and integration of many key organizations that led to success for Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ike and dozens of other droughts, fires and floods that have affected Texas in the last 15 years.

Imken’s tireless efforts and devotion to the Texas Army National Guard and the state of Texas for the last 49 years made a significant impact that will undoubtedly last far into the future.