The end of an era: Commander Harry Statia retires at Iowa State

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Commander Harry Statia, at his retirement reception.

Commander Harry Statia, former Executive Officer of Iowa State University NROTC, retired from the Navy with 30 years of military service June 20.

Attending this memorable event was CDR Statia’s wife (Melissa) and children, along with over 80 honored guests and friends. It is easy to see the impact an individual like CDR Statia has made throughout his career by the representation of people from all over the country who attended his retirement ceremony.

The event started with the welcoming of the ceremonial party and guest speaker Dr. Thomas Hill. Dr. Hill, the Senior Vice president for Student Affairs at Iowa State University.  Dr. Hill reflected on his interactions with CDR Statia throughout his service as Iowa State’s NROTC Executive Officer and made sure to emphasize his willingness to serve.  Dr. Hill stated “It gives me great pleasure when working with these folks because it is always them asking us how can we help, or what do you need from us? No other departments wanted to volunteer people or time to make events run smoothly.  I could always count on these selfless folks to come to our aid.”

Three decades of service in the Navy and Marine Corps from Whidbey Island, Washington and Brunswick, Maine to Atsugi, Japan, highlight Harry Statia’s service around the globe.  Starting his career as an enlisted Marine Electrician, he serviced the President’s helicopter (Marine ONE).  CDR Statia then went on to serve as an A-6E Electrician in the Navy while pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University during his off duty hours.

“Harry Statia is driven to succeed,” said Captain Polk, Commanding Officer Iowa State University’s NROTC Unit.  “He found what he wanted, and he pursued it to completion.  In assignments all over the world he stands out as a leader, embodying the ideal of ‘service before self’, and living our core values of honor, courage and commitment.  Harry Statia will be sorely missed, and I am confident that he will be equally successful in the next chapter of his life as a civilian.”

When CDR Statia gave his remarks he paused to thank his mother, who had always been a strong motivator for him early in his military career. In reference to some of the hard times he had faced as a young Junior Officer CDR Statia reflected on her words of wisdom. “The squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but don’t ever forget that the squeaky wheel can also be replaced.” Her wisdom helped shape him into the officer that he had become during his career.  CDR Statia honored her with a special medal during the ceremony to thank her for all that she had done for him.

CDR Statia was presented with an honorary shadow box from the members of the ISU NROTC Unit to remember his career.  A career that started out as an enlisted Marine, then enlisted Sailor, and finally ended as a U.S. Naval Officer, with 30 years of faithful service to his nation.

–Story by Ensign Kelly Larkin, Iowa State University, NROTC

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