After more than three decades of service, five-and-a-half years of which were served during active duty, Stephenville Police Chief Roy Halsell served his last day with the Texas Army National Guard on Monday.
Like many brave young men and women, Halsell began his military career during the Vietnam War. Shortly after his graduation from Brownfield High School, he embarked on a journey into manhood, a journey of honor, service and dedication. He was inducted in the U.S. Army in September 1966.
One year after he joined the Army, Halsell went through advanced infantry training and was commissioned through Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he served as a training officer.
By August 1967, Halsell was on his way to the Republic of Vietnam. During his first six months, he was the Infantry Platoon Leader of the 1st Calvary Division. His last several months in Vietnam were served as a military advisor.
Less than three years after his enlistment, at only 21 years old, Halsell was quickly promoted to Company Commander (Captain). In his role as an executive officer, he led the A Company 7/6 Infantry 2 AD out of Fort Hood. He was assigned with the care and command of 220 men.
Halsell’s career continued to soar as he enrolled in flight school and his mission took to the skies.
He served in the Aero Scout Platoon, 4/12th and 1/10th Calvary based in Fort Carson, Colo.
Halsell said he left his first tour of active duty in April 1972 and served as a special forces reserve officer for about a year-and-a-half.
At not even 25 years old, Halsell had completed basic training, advanced infantry training, infantry officer candidate school, jungle survival school, and MACV advisor orientation and flight school.
With a long list of accomplishments already under his belt, Halsell decided to take a break from his military duty and take advantage of an opportunity granted him by his service. He enrolled at West Texas State University in Canyon. “If not for the military, I wouldn’t have gone to college,” Halsell said.
Halsell obtained a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and a new career began to take shape as he signed up as an officer with the Waco Police Department. He would later obtain a Master of Public Administration Degree from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.
In late 1981, he spread his wings again and joined the Texas Army National Guard; this time he would spend nearly a quarter of a century working in reserves and active duty.
A well-trained helicopter pilot, Halsell worked as an aero scout section and platoon leader, maintenance platoon leader, executive officer, aero scout pilot, AH-1 pilot, OH-58 pilot and served his second tour of duty while with the guard in 2004.
During his time as police chief for the city of Stephenville, he took a leave of absence for active duty. Halsell was activated as part of the National Guard Reserves and was deployed to Afghanistan to train that nation’s army. “The mission of my unit was to work with the basic trainees for the Afghan National Army,” Halsell said.
It has been said that it takes a strong man to serve his country, to give his all and sacrifice everything defending the freedoms of this great land. With his years of service and dedication, and the medals and commendations proudly displayed behind his desk at the Stephenville Police Department, it can be seen that Halsell answered the call.
For answering the call time and time again, Halsell has been awarded a number of decorations and badges including: Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Achievement Medal and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
Although officially retired from the armed forces, Halsell will continue his duty of service, he will continue as Police Chief, protecting the people and upholding the law in Stephenville.
“My time in the military was an extraordinary experience,” Halsell said. “It helped lay the stage for my future.”