• Frances Sasser, wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr., former senior noncommissioned officer, 1st Inf. Div., feeds a customary carrot to one of the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard mounts during a ceremony Oct. 25, at Fort Riley's Victory Park. During the ceremony, those from the 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley and Flint Hills region of Kansas said goodbye to the Sassers and welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston as the division's 23rd senior noncommissioned officer.

    Frances Sasser, wife of Command Sgt. Maj...

    Frances Sasser, wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr., former senior noncommissioned officer, 1st Inf. Div., feeds a customary carrot to one of the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard mounts during a ceremony Oct. 25, at Fort Riley's...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, 1st Inf. Div. senior noncommissioned officer, thanks his wife and children for their contribution to his career during a ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. Grinston was officially welcomed to the "Big Red One" and Fort Riley during the Victory Honors ceremony. He last served as the senior noncommissioned officer of the 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, 1st Inf...

    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, 1st Inf. Div. senior noncommissioned officer, thanks his wife and children for their contribution to his career during a ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. Grinston was officially welcomed to the "Big...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, 1st Inf. Div. senior noncommissioned officer, receives a spent casing from Staff Sgt. Trevor Tong, 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., 1st Inf. Div., during a Victory Honors ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. Grinston is the division's 23rd senior noncommissioned officer.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, 1st Inf...

    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, 1st Inf. Div. senior noncommissioned officer, receives a spent casing from Staff Sgt. Trevor Tong, 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., 1st Inf. Div., during a Victory Honors ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's Victory Park...

  • Soldiers from the 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., fire cannons Oct. 25 during the playing of the national anthem at the Victory Honors Ceremony for Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston in Victory Park on Fort Riley. The ceremony saw Sasser, who has been the division's highest-ranking noncommissioned officer for almost two years, transition responsibility of the division to Grinston.

    Soldiers from the 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., 1st...

    Soldiers from the 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., fire cannons Oct. 25 during the playing of the national anthem at the Victory Honors Ceremony for Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr. and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston in...

  • Staff Sgt. Wesley Johnson, 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., presents Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr., former 1st Inf. Div. senior noncommissioned officer, with a spent casing on behalf of the salute battery during a ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's Victory Park. During the Victory Honors ceremony, members of the 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley and Kansas communities said goodbye to Sasser, who has served as the division's senior noncommissioned officer for almost two years.

    Staff Sgt. Wesley Johnson, 1st Bn., 5th FA...

    Staff Sgt. Wesley Johnson, 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., presents Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser Jr., former 1st Inf. Div. senior noncommissioned officer, with a spent casing on behalf of the salute battery during a ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's...

The "Big Red One" welcomed a new division command sergeant major and bid farewell to the man who served as its top enlisted Soldier for almost two years during a Victory Honors ceremony Oct. 25 at Fort Riley's Victory Park.

Command Sgt. Major Michael A. Grinston assumed responsibility as the 1st Infantry Division's senior enlisted noncommissioned officer from Command Sgt. Major Charles V. Sasser Jr.

Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, said seeing the division's 23rd command sergeant major step into the ranks of the division's leaders was "bittersweet" because it meant saying goodbye to Sasser.

Funk used the words "professionalism" and "personal courage" to describe Sasser's tenure in the division and said he was "constantly on point for the nation" during his 30-year Army career.

"When he arrived here in 2011, he immediately set to preparing the headquarters as the Regional Command-East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," Funk said. "Due to his tremendous deployment experience, he took every opportunity as the command sergeant major to mentor the staff sergeants major and the brigade sergeants major as well as providing invaluable tactical advice to the command."

In an informal going-away ceremony for Sasser on Oct. 16, Funk praised Sasser for his work with the Afghan noncommissioned officer corps during the division's deployment from April 2012 to March 2013. He said the mentorship Sasser provided the senior Afghan noncommissioned officers showed them what right looks like.

Sasser said he and his Family were sad to be leaving "such an exceptional group of people."

"This team will always be unparalleled in comparison to our peers," he said. "Not to put down the Army's other nine divisions, but we'll always be 'the one.'"

Sasser is set to retire later this year, and he said, "I will always be a Big Red One Soldier."

Grinston said he, too, will always be a Big Red One Soldier.

"I will forever have a lasting tie to this division that will never be broken," Grinston said.

He last served in the Big Red One as a first sergeant in the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, and deployed with his company for 12 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

From a podium set up in the park, Grinston pointed to a path of stones engraved with names of division Soldiers who died in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

"There are a couple of names of my Soldiers who I took into combat," Grinston said.

Until arriving at the division's headquarters last week and touring the park, he was unaware his Soldiers were honored in this way, he said.

Grinston earned two Bronze Star Medals for valor during that deployment.

As the division's senior noncommissioned officer, Grinston pledged to "work to build teamwork, maintain Soldiers and civilians (and) build morale while maintaining discipline in myself and those in our community."

Page last updated Fri October 25th, 2013 at 00:00