FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Although he's not retiring, one Missouri National Guardsman is leaving the 35th Engineer Brigade community he's served for more than 20 years.
Sgt. Maj. Kannon John, the brigade senior logistics noncommissioned officer, starts a new position this week as the Missouri National Guard assistant chief of staff for logistics sergeant major at Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City.
John has served almost 24 years – most of the first two in the Kansas Guard and the remainder with Missouri. While in the Missouri Guard, John has spent all but a few months of his career in logistics, more commonly known as supply, usually a full-time, active-duty Guardsman in units that fall under or in Missouri's lone engineer brigade, which is located at Fort Leonard Wood.
With this new position likely his last – John plans to retire in about four years from this position – the brigade decided to recognize his contributions to the engineer community by presenting him with a coveted crystal engineer castle, the symbol of the U.S. Army Engineer Corps.
The crystal castle is usually reserved for senior brigade staff officers and the guest speaker at the 35th Engineer Brigade Ball, but is rarely presented to enlisted staff.
"I thought it was a fantastic award," John said. "I've always seen senior officers and noncommissioned officers receive the crystal castle at the pinnacle of their career, and it's just fantastic to receive one. It was a great award knowing they thought that highly of me."
Capt. Steven Toft, brigade logistics officer, said for John to make it from the lowest levels of supply to the top supply position in the state is a great accomplishment.
"You don't get there unless you've proven yourself as one of the premier logisticians in the field," Toft said.
Toft said John not only set high logistics standards, but also in the area of physical fitness, and will be missed at the brigade.
"When you take a key player like him out, there is always going to be a little bit of a void," he said. "The fact that he's going up to state gives us an opportunity to always reach back to him. He has the ability to look at a problem and with all of his experience, he can immediately go to the resolution phase."
John reflected on his time as an engineer.
"I want to express my thanks to the engineer brigade for all the opportunities that they've provided me," John said. "The engineer community is a fantastic organization that has always led the way in training and equipping Missouri National Guard Soldiers.
"I hope to serve the Missouri National Guard Soldiers well in my new position."
Page 2 of 2 - In his new position, John will be the senior enlisted advisor to the chief of staff for logistics, Col. James Allison, and help him direct policy and guidance in the logistics arena for the state of Missouri. He'll also be the executive director of the logistics advisory council and on the traditional Guard side will serve as the senior enlisted noncommissioned officer for chief of staff logistics platoon.
John said he is excited about his new position.
"It gives me the opportunity to serve the Missouri National Guard Soldiers in the capacity and the background that I come from in logistics," John said. "It gives me the opportunity to train and mentor the full-time logisticians of the state, and hopefully to improve the logistics posture of the Missouri National Guard."
The reason John says he's always been very passionate about logistics is because of the vast impact it has on Soldiers.
"At the end of the day, logisticians are able to put a quantifiable value on the effort they have put forth," he said. "They are equipping Soldiers with the uniforms, equipment and supplies that are necessary to complete the mission."
With the move in position, John has also moved with his family from Webb City to Holts Summit.
John cut his teeth in the brigade as the supply sergeant for Company A, 203rd Engineer Battalion. He moved on to become the battalion supply sergeant before coming to the brigade as the assistant operations noncommissioned officer. He briefly was the state logistics training noncommissioned officer for the chief of staff for logistics at Ike Skelton Training Site, before he returned to the brigade as the operations noncommissioned officer. He then took the position of brigade senior logistics noncommissioned officer.
"I can't keep a job, is the problem," John joked.
He's served on missions to Guatemala, Honduras, Coast Rica and Alaska.
From 2003-2004, he deployed with the 203rd to Iraq.
A 1990 graduate of Nevada High School, John earned a Bachelor's of Science in business from Columbia College in 2010 and is six-credit hours short of earning his Masters of Business Administration from Columbia.
He is supported in his military career by his wife, Angela, daughter Morgan, 16, and son, Matthew, 13.
"Angela has been a dedicated spouse and military wife for 18 years," John said. "They've all put up with multiple deployments and Dad traveling a lot."