SMDC prepares to say farewell to leader, friend
April 17, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Soon, Soldiers, civilians and family members of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command will say farewell to their senior enlisted leader.
Command Sgt. Maj. Larry S. Turner will pass the reigns to Command Sgt. Maj. James N. Ross in a change of responsibility ceremony April 26.
Before leaving the command, and the Army in which he spent 35 years, Turner talked about what he has enjoyed most about his time at USASMDC/ARSTRAT.
"Being named the SMDC command sergeant major has been the highlight in a career full of highlights," Turner said. "I have enjoyed serving with and leading the most dedicated Soldiers and civilians here are at SMDC/ARSTRAT as we have faced difficult and challenging times together."
Turner's past assignments have included Fort Bragg, N.C.; Vicenza, Italy; Fort Benning, Ga.; Atlanta, Ga.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and many more. He said that among all the units he has served in and all the Soldiers he has served with, he would like to be remembered as one who took care of his Warfighters.
"I would like to be remembered as a leader who took care of our Soldiers, civilians and their families," Turner said. "As long as I ensured they were taken care of, they ensured they took care of America. I have always remembered that I was once a private, and I remember the senior noncommissioned officers -- first sergeants and sergeants major -- who mentored me on my career path. I hope I did as much for my Soldiers as my leaders did for me."
Turner took a moment to thank all of the Soldiers and civilians in the command who are dedicated to protecting America's troops in the field as they are protecting loved ones back home.
"SMDC/ARSTRAT space and missile defense Soldiers and civilians prove time and time again that they are ready for any challenge placed in their way," Turner said. "Their dedication to duty is second-to-none. I am in awe of what they accomplish on a daily basis. We have world-class warriors serving around the globe to protect our nation. I am thankful to have served with them and grateful for all they do.
As he prepares to retire, Turner said he is proud of all the command does for the security of the nation and that he could not be more impressed with the SMDC team.
"This command has an awesome responsibility and I am proud to have been a part of this team that continuously strives to put the nation first and provide capabilities to our Warfighters at the tip of the spear," Turner said. "I have never been around a more professional team and thank them for what they do to protect our nation."
Turner had a few words for the incoming command sergeant major, Ross, who served as command sergeant major for the 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade as well as the 32nd Air and Missile Defense Command, and knows all about SMDC.
"If you take care of our Soldiers and civilians, our Soldiers and civilians will take care of you," Turner said. "Our troops have never failed to accomplish a mission we have given them. They are some of the best our country has and as long as we provide the best leadership and equipment to them, they will only get better."