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Sergeant Major Joe Curtis Tracy came to this world on December 19,1962 at Spartanburg Regional. Tracy later attended Excelsior College in Albany, New York where he received his Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree. Tracy enlisted in the army when he was 17, being inspired by his uncle, who was stationed in Vietnam. He described his first encounter in boot camp as aggressive and tough. However, because he was of athletic built, some tasks came easier to him. The environment was was filled with great leaders who would inspire him to do his best. The boot camp leaders took care and pride in their students. Tracy describe them as making all students a priority and providing the right tools to teach them to be the best, of the best. Tracy completed basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Lee, as a material storage handling specialist.

Tracy served in Afghanistan, Qatar, Belgium,Japan. Also, served in Operation Desert Storm most commonly known as the Gulf War.  He also served in Iraq specifically areas such as the Key West or Qayyarah Airfield West and also Baghdad. In Tracy’s last tour in Iraq he was assigned as the Brigade Sergeant Major where he was responsible for working with other battalions and protecting his forces in the Quick Reaction Force. While in combat zones he would learn to be situationally aware. Tracy learned to always be prepared and described these times as ‘scary’. In every unit, there is expected casualties of both men and civilian. Tracy and many other soldiers would celebrate the lost of their men by holding Rock ceremonies to dedicate rocks with the names of  the soldiers and, the units they belonged to. Or, they would celebrate the lives on the airfields in which the bodies are sent back home to relatives. It is a touching sentiment to hold on to the hard working and dedicated souls who risk everything to protect their country.

To hold on to his sanity, Tracy placed his trust in the grace of God and gives credit to Jesus for his survival. Tracy carried a small pocket bible which he received from his mother, he read a scripture every night, to gain the protection and comfort from the words of the Lord, he also attended church. Another way in which he tried to stay strong, through the hardships of war, was communicating with his family.

For his outstanding service, and braveheart, Tracy received many awards- The Legion of Merit given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements, the Bronze star for serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meritorious service medal for serving two years in the second infantry and being apart of the color guard. Army commendation medal for heroism or meritorious service.

Tracy retired in January of 2012, serving 30 years in the military, since he first began active duty on December of 1962. Tracy is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion Union. Tracy is also the director or operations in the Upstate Stand Down which bring together services, resources and veterans and their families for assistance, resources and comradeship in the upstate. Tracy is also finishing college, to receive his Doctoral degree in business administration with a concentration in applied science at Northcentral University. Tracy is a father to five boys and one girl, and was never married.  Being in the military takes a toll on anyone.

Tracy came out wiser, and stronger than ever. Everything he learned in the Army influences the decisions he makes in everyday life. Tracy describes the army as teaching him maturity and success. The ability to understand and listen to people. The Army influences his life in a positive way and caused him to have a positive attitude and outlook of  life. The key aspects Tracy took from the army was being a team player, communicating and being discipline. Breaking barriers and overcoming the struggles of adapting to civilian life after seeing and experiencing certain things- are just small prices he paid for joining the military. Tracy describes learning what leadership truly is, describing  its as “the art of influencing people to accomplish a mission”. Sergeant Major Tracy is an outstanding and generous veteran, he has accomplished many great feats and is worthy of recognition, for he his hard-working in giving for his country. You are adored and appreciated Sergeant Major Joe Tracy.

Kacia Ramasar

I am currently a senior at High Point Academy where I am a member of the Beta Club. I am an all A's student. I am a certified member of CERT. I participated on the varsity volleyball team. In the future I would like to become a pediatric nurse or work in the medical field.


Heather is the owner of Charlie Mason Entertainment in Upstate South Carolina. Entities include Upstate Exposures Magazine, Charlie Mason Radio, and the Northwest Corner Podcast.

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