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A goodbye to JBLM executive assistant

Kline ends 46-year career

Alice Kline, left, accepts an honorary bayonet at her retirement party from 7th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr., right. (JBLM PAO photo)

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Joy and laughter filled The Bistro’s backroom Sept. 30, as generations of 7th Infantry Division officials and lifetime friends of Alice G. Kline’s celebrated the end of her nearly 46-year career as an executive assistant at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Kline, affectionately referred to by her coworkers as “Ms. Alice,” was critical in administrative support for 7th Inf. Div. officials. She worked with more than 20 commanding officers over her career.

Everyone at the event agreed that she worked tirelessly and selflessly for nearly half a century to make sure everything she touched on ran smoothly.

“I’ve been here a lifetime,” Kline said while laughing at the retirement luncheon. “I’m just proud to have had the opportunity to work here. It’s a dream job for me — to work with all the Soldiers who come from every walk of life and background.”

Major General Thomas S. James Jr., 7th Inf. Div. commander, said Kline was invaluable to him as a commander, after working with her for the past year.

“Just based on relationships, she’s able to work through problems that arise, help me work through my schedule and make my ability to execute as a division commander much easier,” James said. “She’s obviously very committed to our country, our Soldiers and our (base) since she’s been here for so long.”

Due to Kline’s lengthy career, she touched the lives of countless people who passed through JBLM. This included Pointe du Hoc Foundation chairman Michael C. Okita, who met Kline when he was stationed on base in 1986.

“She’s just been a great friend and confidant, someone that helped someone like me, a young captain when they come in and learn the landscape,” Okita said. “She’s been a great mentor to people beyond just me. That is why when you look across the room you a see a mix of people — some in uniform, some civilians and retirees like me (who) have moved on and are pleased to come back to say hello to a long-time friend.”

The retirement ceremony also included honors for Kline. She was pinned into the Keeper of the Hourglass, an honor to recognize the foundation that supports the 7th Inf. Div. She became the 49th member inducted. Kline also received the Superior Civilian Service Award for her outstanding work. Everyone in attendance also signed a large photograph of the 7th Inf. Div. and a guest book to go along with an honorary bayonet.

James gave a brief address during the ceremony to speak about how much Kline meant to everyone on base. He then gave Kline a chance to speak and address everyone personally.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Kline said while thanking everyone for coming out. “I’ll see you all around. I have no plans except to take it one day at a time and see where it leads me.”

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