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Retired Missouri National Guard head receives Distinguished Service Medal
Retired Missouri National Guard head receives Distinguished Service Medal

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) King Sidwell, right, is pinned Saturday with the Distinguished Service Medal by Brig. Gen. David Irwin at the 35th Engineer Brigade Ball.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 9, 2010) — Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, former Missouri National Guard adjutant general, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on Saturday at the 35th Engineer Brigade Ball at the Pershing Community Center on post.

The award is the third most prestigious in the Army, just below the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. It is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States of America military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United States armed forces or other uniformed services.

“Obviously I’m surprised,” said Sidwell, who served in the Missouri Guard’s top position from January 2005 to January of 2009. “It is certainly a great honor and I’m humbled by it.”

Sidwell, who was the assistant corps engineer with the 35th Engineer Brigade in 2004, said he shared the award with all those he’s worked with.

“I received the award because of the work of the Missouri Guard,” he said. “There are 11,000 Army and Air Guardsmen out there that had a hand in the success of Missouri and ultimately the award.”

Sidwell said earlier in the evening he spoke with Command Sgt. Maj. Will Pierce, command sergeant major for the 35th Engineer Brigade, who thanked him for his leadership during tenure as adjutant general.

“I told Will that it meant more to me to have the approval of a noncommissioned officer than any award or recognition in the Army,” Sidwell said. “But to have some tangible presentation of appreciation from the chief of staff of the Army means a great deal.”

In retirement, Sidwell spends his time at home in Sikeston, making up for the time he sacrificed in service of Missouri and the nation.

“I catch up on all those honey-dos and things I didn’t do while I was the adjutant general,” he said. “My hobby is my family. There was a lot of time that I missed with my wife and son during the four years as adjutant general.”

Sidwell earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1972 from Georgia Institute of Technology. He added a juris doctorate in law in 1975 from the University of Missouri and graduated in 2000 from the United States Army War College with a degree in strategic studies.

Other major awards Sidwell has received include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with silver oak leaf cluster and bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass, the Army Service Ribbon and Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon with numeral 7.

Sidwell is supported in his military career by his wife, Cindy, a grown son, Mitch, and a pre-teen son, Trent, 12.

“My wife is the ultimate supportive spouse for the National Guard,” Sidwell said. “She was supportive and accommodating to all the times away from home. In fact, our marriage was planned around my National Guard activities. She has taken care of my son, Trent, while I’ve been gone and worked hard with family support and military spouses.”

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