NEWS

Loyalty: The Virtue of One Soldier

Capt. Jasen Boyd, Commander, Alpha Company, 3-172 IN, presents a service award to Staff Sgt. David Rondeau for his 30 years of service. Rondeau also received the Meritorious Service Medal. Story by Sgt. Ashley Hayes, 86th IBCT


His smile widens as he recollects his most fond memory; one that journeys all the way to the top of
the Italian Alps. The official destination of his first flight and first time out of the country. The
opportunity to travel to Italy and work with the Alpini troops was a fantastic experience and set the
tone for 28 more years of dedicated service to his country.
This is how Staff Sgt. David T. Rondeau, a Mountain Infantry Soldier with Alpha Company, 3rd
Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain), described his first over-seas mission. Rondeau, a
Logger by trade, has spent all of his years of service with one unit.
Throughout the last 30 years Rondeau has demonstrated loyalty, developed a rich history, and
considers his unit part of his family.
Right from the beginning, Rondeau knew Alpha Company was a perfect match for him because it was
the only Mountain Infantry unit in the state. "It's a special company, it's an elite unit," said Rondeau.
"It's a little hard for me to leave. I don't want to leave. It's not just a guard unit, it's been my home for
30 years." Rondeau described the unit as having strong camaraderie and as the best unit in the world.
His loyalty is recognized by many soldiers who have served with him. One of those Soldiers is
Command Sgt. Maj. Forrest Glodgett, the State of Vermont Command Sergeant Major. Glodgett met
Rondeau in 1986 when he was a squad leader in Alpha company.
"He is the epitome of a mountain infantry Soldier," said Glodgett. "You couldn't ask for a better
soldier, because he's there when you want him to be and when he needs to be. You wish that all your
soldiers had loyalty like that"Rondeau's long loyal service has given him the opportunity to create part
of the Vermont National Guard's history. Rondeau was among the first class to go through the Army
Mountain Warfare School.
"They were still writing the book at that time," said Rondeau.
For two years after attending the summer and winter phases, Rondeau worked at the school as an
Assistant Instructor. Not only was Rondeau part of the foundation of the Mountain School, but he was
also the first soldier fresh out of Basic Training to join Alpha company, and was an integral part of the
unit's growth. Rondeau remembered helping train some of the men that had joined the unit because
they were from different backgrounds.
"They weren't infantry, they didn't know how to deal with taking apart an M16", said Rondeau "I was
actually training them as a private".
The more that is known about Rondeau's service with the Vermont National Guard, the more history is
unraveled.
"They are loosing such a piece of history, because he just saw it from the beginning," said Glodgett.
Since Rondeau has spent many years with one unit, he considers it to be part of his family.
"They made me who I am, that's why I stayed so long," said Rondeau. "I'd do it all again. I can't think
of nothing else I would have done different."
Despite the tough aspects of infantry life, Rondeau had nothing but good things to say about his
experiences.
"A lot of people will complain of bad stuff," said Rondeau. There are so many good times and
adventure, that it overshadows the bad times. The only bad thing now is that I have to leave."
Rondeau's advice to younger soldiers who may soon be taking over his position was a statement that
reflected his experiences as a Soldier.
"I would tell them to experience everything they could as far as what the unit has to offer as far as
schools, like the mountain school itself, the training," said Rondeau. "Don't just come to drill and sit
back; get involved. Push for more training, push to go places, that's the biggest thing. I thank the
guard for everything, especially this unit, for everything I've gone through in the past 30 years."

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