FORT POLK, La. — Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Freeman has achieved nothing on his own, but only as a vessel for Him, according to remarks he gave at his Friday retirement ceremony, where he gave all credit back to God for blessing him with the strength to be a shitty non-commissioned officer.
“It made me doubt my faith,” said Pfc. Andrew Lewis, a member of Freeman’s platoon. “If Sgt. Freeman is a vehicle for God’s work, why does God want us to have such shitty leadership?”
Freeman, who was given an Army Achievement Medal as a retirement award, is well regarded as the least effective NCO in the battalion. Between rambling, incoherent work plans distinguishing himself by falling out of group runs, Freeman has given his soldiers plenty of time to consider why an all-powerful God would choose such an imperfect tool for His work and then only channel enough of his limitless grace to make Freeman barely meet the standard.
“It is only through God who gives that I’m able to serve my country as a soldier,” said Freeman at his retirement ceremony, which was attended by 12 of his Soldiers and 127 members of his church family. “God gave me the strength to be a leader for these 28, or maybe it’s 29, soldiers. God gave me the intelligence and perseverance I needed to earn my bachelor of science in leadership studies from University of Southern Phoenix Online. But none of this is about me — it’s about God, who carries out his will through me. I’ve been able to do this not for my own glory, but so I can go back to the community as an example of what can be accomplished with faith.”
Pfc. Lewis told reporters he wonders whether it was God’s will when Freeman incorrectly requested ammunition and left him at an uncovered range for four hours until the company first sergeant rescued him, or if God really wanted his platoon to travel 40 miles in the wrong direction after Freeman gave them the strip map from a previous exercise.
“Bad leadership is one of the top reasons we see soldiers seek a chaplain,” said John King, battalion Chaplain. “Sgt. Freeman, however, was the first to inspire a specialist to nail a list of areas of where God could improve his leadership skills to the main post chapel door, Martin Luther style.”