|Mississippi National Guard Retirees stand for the National Anthem May 9, 2019, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center during the MSNG Annual Retiree Day. Retired Guardsmen as well as current Service members came together at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum to celebrate and honor retirees for their service. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. DeUndra Brown)
Camp Shelby, MS -- "Some people don't like it, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I really just enjoy military life. My dad was in the Marines for nine years. I've got a nephew in the Marine Corps and his dad had 25 years in the Navy. So we are just a military family," said Staff Sgt. (Ret.) James Sharp.
Sharp, an Ellisville resident, who served 23 years in the military, was one of many people in attendance May 9, 2019, for the Mississippi National Guard Annual Retiree Day at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum on Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. He attended with his grandson, Sean Carney.
"My military career: I was in the Air Force six years. Six years was enough at that time. The rest of it was in the Army Guard! Then I got out. A lot of my friends that I knew were in the Guard. I went up one day and I joined that day."
Sharp took on many military occupational specialties while serving in the two branches.
"I was in security service, I was an ammo sergeant, a forward observer, a communication sergeant, and whatever else they needed to fill a position," he said.
This is Sharp's second time to attend the Retiree Day.
"It is an honor to be here and to see all of these other people that are being honored," he said. "There are not too many places that honor military personnel, but it's getting better. We get more recognition now than we did, and it is an honor to get the recognition. It's just like a family reunion is what it is."
|Mississippi Army National Guard Staff Sgt. (Ret.) James Sharp looks at exhibits at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center after the MSNG Annual Retiree Day May 9, 2019. Sharp reflects on memorabilia at the museum that remind him of certain events during his time of service. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. DeUndra Brown).
Sharp likes to spend time with family. He is married with four kids and spends the majority of his free time with his grandson.
"I'm a stay at home grandpa. He's my helper," he said. "He is very, very smart. He knows everybody in the family's phone number - uncle, aunts, and mine. I can't remember my phone number half the time. He will tell me."
Sharp also spends a lot of time on his farm.
"I used to be a goat farmer, but I have got rid of all my goats. Now I've got one donkey left. He's hard to give away. There's two people that were supposed to come get him for a month, but they haven't got him yet," he said. "I do a little gardening. I like to plant flowers, take care of flowers, and plant fruit trees."
Sharp appreciates the years he was able to serve and said the location of Retiree Day at the museum gave him a good chance to reflect on that service. As he walked through, he saw exhibits that reminded him of certain events during his time of service. He saw many service pistols that he carried and described the bunkers that he had been in.
Sharp encourages today's Soldiers and Airmen to make the best of their opportunities.
"S-T-A-Y I-N. Stay in for the retirement," he said. "I'm just proud that I was able to be in the military. This is an honor that's bestowed on us."