MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- When Sgt. Maj. Henry Prutch retired from 30 years of honorable and faithful active service Friday at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., there was little doubt his legacy would live on.
Standing before him on the parade field was his son, Cpl. Scott Prutch, who served as the commander of troops in the ceremony.
The young corporal’s presence at the ceremony wasn’t a guarantee. Roughly a month ago he was in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a landing support specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 4.
His unit returned to Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan, in mid-August after a six-month tour. He was able to get permissive temporary additional duty as a recruiter’s assistant in Havelock, N.C., allowing him to be a part of his father’s retirement.
“Having Scott here was the best,” Henry Prutch said.
Before Scott Prutch arrived in eastern North Carolina, the last time his father saw him was at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, in February, when then-Lance Cpl. Prutch arrived in Afghanistan just as his father was preparing to leave. Scott Prutch spent his deployment at Forward Operating Base Nolay.
The sergeant major did a year-long tour as the right hand to Maj. Gen. Glenn M. Walters, the commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. From March 2011 through March 2012 the two men led the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), the aviation combat element of the southwestern regional command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
Walters, who served as the reviewing officer at Friday’s retirement ceremony, described flying a mission in an MV-22B Osprey to Forward Operating Base Nolay in February. At his sergeant major’s request, he brought care packages donated by the American people to the young lance corporal.
“Today that same son, who I last saw in a dusty zone in Afghanistan, was standing behind me out here, and he’s a corporal now. Congratulations,” Walters said in his statements at the ceremony.
Scott Prutch described his deployment to Afghanistan as a great experience. He said he was eager to carry on his father’s legacy. He said his father’s advice and guidance is with him constantly.
“Nonstop,” he said. “It’s with me nonstop. It was nice being the only two Prutches in the Corps. Now I’m just going to have to carry the load.”
In his remarks Walters thanked the sergeant major’s wife Jennifer for being both a military wife and a military mom.
“Jen, thanks for letting us have him for 30 years,” Walters said.
“Hopefully we can get another 28 out of your son.”