Home : News : News

Former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Leon L. Van Autreve honored at ceremony

| AMEDDC&S Public Affairs | June 24, 2016

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 Chapter,

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 nation’s military.”

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.