– Current and former commanders, as well as dozens of top noncommissioned officers, gathered in the Memorial Hall of Flags of the gold domed State House here Tuesday, December 10, to mark the retirement of the Massachusetts National Guard’s top non-commissioned officer, State Command Sgt. Maj. David Costa.
Costa served as Massachusetts’ sixth state command sergeant major, and he is due to officially hand responsibility of the position to in-coming State Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ramos Rivera at the Joint Force Headquarters, Hanscom Air Force Base, on Friday, December 13.
“I really appreciate all you being here today,” said The Adjutant General of Massachusetts, Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, at the ceremony. “We’re here to honor – not only a great man, a great Soldier, and a great command sergeant major – but also an individual who represents the values, ideals and all the things we hold dear to our heart.”
Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, who formerly served as The Adjutant General of Massachusetts, and who appointed Costa to the state command sergeant major position, also remarked at the ceremony.
“This memorial hall is a special place where all Massachusetts Soldiers are honored and remembered. These murals depict the history of American freedom,” he said as he pointed to the numerous paintings that adorn the room. “It is fitting today that we are gathered in this hallowed hall to honor the life and service of an American Soldier whose career epitomizes the Army values.”
Costa is a 44-year military veteran, having enlisted in the Active Duty Army in the summer of 1969 and served combat tours in Vietnam. “I’ll have you know,” Rice said at a State House event in September, “he is one of the last actively serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces – not just the Guard, not just the Army, but the entire Armed Forces – that served in Vietnam, and is still serving today.”
“The American people will continue to need the Guard, and we must always be ready, prepared, and available,” Costa said during his remarks. “Not just during emergencies or wars, there are just as many other important missions: the mission of role model. We must never forget who we serve and who are the real generals and real command sergeants major: the people of the commonwealth.”
Costa said he has no major plans for retirement; however, at an earlier interview, Costa noted that his immediate course of action “will be to cancel my subscription to the Army Times.”