Qualls retires after 39 years in Army Reserves

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

Command Sgt. Major Scherr Qualls made his last official trip to Mobile last weekend, ending his 39-year career as an Army reservist.

He and his family attended a retirement ceremony Sunday at the Joint Readiness Center in the Fort Whiting Armory Brookley Field.

Qualls enlisted in the reserves in 1974 when he was 19 years old. The Vietnam War was wrapping up and the draft was still active. The reserves kept him safe at home.

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“The role of the Army Reserve has changed a lot in the last 39 years,” he said. “At that time reserves were never called up.”

Cuts in the defense budget reduced the size of the Army, which placed more responsibilities on weekend warriors like Qualls. As a result, the Army Reserves had to be better trained and equipped. He said one advantage was that reserve units were better equipped than at the start of his career as a logistician.

By the time he reached his last change of station at the 375th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Mobile, Qualls had deployed overseas three times.

Among more than a dozen decorations, Qualls earned a Bronze Star, Meritorious Service medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and an Army Achievement medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.

He knew it was time to retire when he learned his position would soon come to an end. By the end of the year, Qualls would have been asked to change stations again.

He was also motivated to end his monthly trips to Mobile.

Qualls, who owns and operates Douglas Bros. Jewelry on The Square, doubted he would have any trouble filling up his weekends at home.

“I’m kind of a handyman,” he said. “There’s always something to build or do.”