April 11, 2012 - BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Paul, Paige, Hannah, and Holly Workman of Clarkston are happy Paul is retiring from the U.S. Army. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
Clarkston News Editor
After more than 20 years with the U.S. Army, active duty and reserves, Paul Workman is ready to retire.
"I'm happy with my career," said Workman, who retires on April 29 as a captain. "I achieved all I wanted to in the Army, It's time to retire."
"I'm really proud of him, but I'm very glad he's retiring," said his wife, Holly Workman, a licensed professional counselor in Clarkston.
He's looking forward to coaching 10-and-under softball with his wife, attending dance recitals with their daughters Hannah and Paige, and spending time at the family cabin up north.
He also volunteers regularly at Clarkston Elementary with his girls, conducting military presentations and flag-folding ceremonies on Veterans Day.
He joined the Army in 1991, serving as an infantryman and military police officer.
"As far back as I can remember, it's what I wanted to do," he said. "It's a family tradition. My dad served in the military, and his dad served."
He went to college while serving in the Army Reserves and earned his commission as a lieutenant in 2002.
During that time he was selected as Soldier of the Year at many levels, Non-commissioned Officer of the Year, and was inducted in the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club for Leadership Excellence. Duty stations as an enlisted soldier included Egypt and Korea.
In 2006, he became company commander of the 783rd Military Police Battalion, Headquarters Company.
"I came full circle; I served in the same battalion in 1995 as an enlisted man, then again as company commander," he said. "As commander, I deployed my unit to Bagram, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom."
"I was sad when he left," said Paige, 8.
"I was proud of my dad and glad he was serving, but I was very sad," said Hannah, 10. "I was really scared that he might get hurt."
"It was one of the hardest periods in our lives," Holly said. "It was tough for both of the girls."
Missions included detainee transfers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and planning and construction of a new military detention center in 2009. As an investigator, cases included accusations of detainee abuse by units within the brigade. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal due to his accomplishments in Afghanistan.
"It was long hours and I was away from home. Honestly, it just sucked. It was a rough time over there. Many had it a lot worse, but it definitely was not a good time," Paul said. "But I loved serving. I don't regret anything."
He got back from Afghanisan in 2009 and continued as company commander until the unit was deactivated earlier this year.
He joined the Oakland County Sheriff Office in 1997.
"It was a natural progression into law enforcement," he said.
As a sergeant assigned to Rochester Hills since March 2011, he looks forward to continuing his career with the department.
"It's had its ups and down, but they've been
very good to me," he said. "They were very supportive of my family when I was gone."
He received an Officer of the Year award from the American Legion Post and Unit 172 in Rochester.
"That was really nice," Paul said.
Paul and Holly dated when they were students at Brandon High School, but broke up when he went into the military. They got back together when his active-duty enlistment ended and he returned home.
"He called me to see what I was doing and we started going out again," Holly said.
"I wanted to see what she was up to. I still liked her," Paul said.
They married in 1999 and moved to Clarkston in 2003, into the home of Holly's grandparents, John and Evelyn Craven.
"My grandfather passed away and we had the opportunity to purchase the home," she said. "We like Clarkston. We wanted Clarkston schools for our kids."
"We know people in the area," Paul said.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.