East Texas native Luis Antonio Perez is retiring from the United States Navy after nearly 30 years of service. He earned the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Four - the highest rank an enlisted sailor can get - making Friday's ceremony at the V.F.W. in Lufkin one of a kind.
Commander Erik Wright said, "Throughout those 28 years, it's obvious that Tony's performance has been outstanding. If I had to think of three things that qualify and define his service to the Navy in the last 28 years, that would be Number 1 - sustained superior performance; Number 2 - leadership; and Number 3 - taking care of his people."
Perez joined the Navy because of the many opportunities it could provide - the chance to get an education, travel the world, and skills that will last a lifetime are just some of the benefits for a sailor. He also earned dozens of medals while serving his country.
"It takes a dedicated person [to make a career in the military], it really does," said Perez. "Individuals that are dedicated and proud of their homeland, their country, their cities, and their states, is the folks that do what we do."
Perez said each sailor is different, but their goal is the same - to fight for our country's freedom. He realizes many people do not understand war and why so many troops are giving their lives to protect America.
"I don't think there's anybody angry," said Perez. "I think there's a lot of people concerned about their families and friends and loved ones over there, but we have to keep America free, there's no doubt about that, so that's why we do the things that we do."