U.S. Army Environmental Command welcomes first command sergeant major
September 20, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - The U.S. Army Environmental Command officially welcomed its first command sergeant major with an Assumption of Responsibility Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston's main flagpole Sept. 17.
Command Sgt. Maj. Earlene Lavender, who has served in the U.S. Army for 27 years, is the first command sergeant major in the USAEC's 38-year history. She will represent the command to the noncommissioned officer corps with respect to environmental issues.
In recognition of her arrival, the ceremony included the traditional passing of the NCO sword from Installation Management Command's Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola, to USAEC Commander, Col. Scott Kimmell and then to Command Sgt. Maj. Lavender. The NCO sword is a completely functional weapon intended for hard and dedicated use rather than display. Adopted by the War Department in 1840 as a symbol of the NCOs' loyalty and dedication, the sword is passed to the new command sergeant major to signify the assumption of duties.
Kimmell, in welcoming Lavender, said, "We've waited almost 40 years for you to get here and I can already tell it's been worth the wait. Our singular mission, your job one, is to ensure the Army, our Soldiers, can train; ensure our Soldiers and Families have a safe place to work; and ensure we're being good stewards of the environment."
"In order to do the things that will have the biggest impact, USAEC needed a command sergeant major (like Lavender)," said Ciotola.
Lavender said that although the NCO Corps, established in 1967, and the USAEC have traveled on different paths to this point they have appropriately met at the crossroads. "They both have the same mission - allowing our Warriors to train, support the Army's operations, and find ways to sustain not only today's but tomorrow's environment."
Lavender joins USAEC after her last assignment in Korea as command sergeant major at the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud. She has served her country for more than 25 years in many assignments including Iraq, Germany, Alaska, Forts Bragg, Bliss, and Lewis.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Excelsior and has attended various military schools, to include the Warrior Leaders Course, Drill Sergeant School, and the Sergeants Major Academy.
Her personal awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and the Army Drill Sergeant Badge.
Before the colors were retired in the ceremony, Lavender remarked on her immediate plans in her new position.
"I look forward to getting to know each of the staff members personally," said Lavender. "I take my responsibility very seriously and will listen and respond to the needs of our command. It is an honor to serve with the Army Environmental Command."
For more information on USAEC's Assumption of Responsibility Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, call (210) 295-2219.