I change command soon and wanted to provide you an update on SGM (Ret) Duco. At 84, he’s still spry and active here in Tuscaloosa. A few years ago his grandson asked him to “temporarily” keep two Great Danes while he built a new house. That house still isn’t built and the dogs are still under SGM Duco’s care. Notwithstanding, he loves those dogs and walking them daily has kept him in good physical condition. Greatly admiring the man – reminds me a great deal of my own father – I call or visit SGM Duco at least monthly. I talked to him again last night and he’s doing well.
After retiring as our Senior Military Instructor (SMI) in 1976, SGM Duco worked as our Supply Technician until 1990. He continued to mentor Cadets – in his words “minus the stripes” – throughout that time. He then traveled the country in an RV for a few years with his wife until she was unable to travel due to poor health. Her passing in 2006 nearly killed him. He tells me he prays daily for God to let him join her in Heaven; however, I tell him the more he complains the longer God will keep him here on earth. He always chuckles when I say that.
SGM Duco provides a scholarship award to a top Cadet annually. Numerous program alumni have discussed endowing a permanent scholarship in the future. The alumni also plan to place a footstone at the oak tree planted in his honor at Tuomey Hall when he retired in 1976. We’ll ensure this occurs.
It may interest his former Soldiers to know that of the 287 2LTs commissioned while SGM Duco served as the SMI at Alabama, 10 went on to become General Officers – roughly 3.5%. That excludes two Brigadier Generals who were Cadets during his final year; a load of COLs from his final years as SMI are still serving on Active Duty and in the Reserve Components. In any case it reflects the genuine care and mentorship SGM Duco showed both Soldiers and Cadets during his long and distinguished career.
I change command 24 June and my successor is LTC James P. Shaver, a Screaming Eagle alumnus from Operation Iraqi Freedom. I’m CCing him so he knows to periodically update you on SGM Duco.
Please post this to your website if desired. Thank you for your service to our Nation. Sincerely,
Lieutenant Colonel Dan N. Clark [email protected]
Professor of Military Science
The University of Alabama