Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston —
National Flag Day and the 241st Army Birthday were special
remembrances for Rita Van Autreve, widow of former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Leon
L. Van Autreve.
The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, or
AMEDDC&S, Non Commissioned Officers Academy, along with the SMA Leon L. Van Autreve
Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, honored Mrs. Van Autreve’s late
husband during a Flag Day retreat ceremony at the Fort Sam Houston National
Cemetery June 14.
Van Autreve was the fourth sergeant major of the Army and a
highly decorated Soldier who participated in the invasion of Port Lyautey,
Africa, and also served in Vietnam.
He joined the Army in 1941 from Delphos, Ohio, and retired
in 1975 with 31 years of service. He passed away in March 2002.
The NCO Academy at Fort Sam Houston was renamed Van Autreve
Hall in September 2002, six months after Van Autreve’s death, in honor of his
contributions to the AMEDDC&S and support to the academy’s mission.
Rita Van Autreve was actively engaged during her husband’s
career supporting Soldiers and their families and has continued her devotion to
the Army, Fort Sam Houston and the San Antonio military community.
As she thanked those in attendance for honoring her husband,
Van Autreve recited “In Flanders Fields” from memory.
“My husband recited this poem at ceremonies and I thought it
fitting to share it with the young Soldiers here today,” Van Autreve said. “By
honoring his service, you honor the service of all our Soldiers and our
After the ceremony, she met with Soldiers, many of them
sharing stories of how her late husband inspired them to join the Army and
advance in their career.