COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-"In the six years since this unit's inception, there have been three brigade commanders and five headquarters battery commanders. The positions that have rarely changed have been that of command sergeant major and of first sergeant, proving that the non-commissioned officers truly are the backbone of the command. Today, we say goodbye to the 100th Missile Defense Brigade's second First Sergeant, William Jewell, and welcome its third, William Ray," said the fifth Headquarters and Headquarter Battery commander, Capt. George Lambos, during a change of responsibility ceremony here at brigade headquarters.

A passing of the ceremonial sword marked the "passing of the reins" from one NCO's hands to the other's. Jewell has been the first sergeant since Feb.1, 2007. He originally joined the unit in Dec. 17, 2003, as a Future Operations Officer for the Missile Defense Element.

The brigade commander, Col. Greg Bowen, had strong words to say about the outgoing first sergeant.

"This NCO epitomizes the phrase 'moral courage.' First Sergeant Jewell lets nothing stand in the way of what he believes to be right, and sometimes that included tact. He acted first and foremost in the best interest of the Soldier, and that has made him an outstanding leader. He will be missed."

Jewell himself admitted to having to learn that "tact did not include attack," but stuck by his personal creed of putting Soldiers first. In his farewell speech, he spoke of his pride in the unit and its Soldiers.

"Being the HHB First Sergeant was a very rewarding experience and if I helped as many people as I made mad during my tenure, then I was successful. I appreciate having had this opportunity. The Brigade has a lot of outstanding officers and NCOs and it's been an honor serving with you all. I wish 1st Sgt. Ray the best and continued success for the Brigade," said Jewell.

Ray, who is one of the original "GMDers" as they were initially christened when the program stood up in 2002, expressed his happiness at being back with the brigade after a long stint with the battalion in Alaska.

"It's been a privilege to be part of this unit from its beginnings, to see it grow, and to be involved in its mission of national defense. But I can see that I'll have to work on saying brigade instead of battalion," he joked after his first command to the unit utilized the wrong term.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16