FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Command Sgt. Maj. Frank M. Leota accepted the ceremonial noncommissioned officers sword that signified his assumption of authority from outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph P. Zettlemoyer Feb. 25 during a ceremony on historic Palm Circle.

Leota confirmed his responsibility for the welfare and standards of the Soldiers of U.S. Army Pacific. Leota also said he expected USARPAC Soldiers to be accountable to their units, the command and to themselves.

Zettlemoyer, who also retired during the ceremony, thanked the command and Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, USARPAC commander, for the opportunities he had during his tenure as command sergeant major.

"But the one person who is and has been indispensable to me -- as chief of staff of the Zettlemoyer household," he said, "is my wife Tina. Without her, none of this -- my career successes -- would have been possible."

Leota, a San Antonio, Texas, native, is no stranger to USARPAC. He comes to the command from the 25th Infantry Division on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he was the division's command sergeant major. Leota is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Command Sergeant Major Leota is extremely qualified for this assignment," said Mixon. "He has served in a variety of command and staff positions, both stateside and aboard. His career highlights include combat tours in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn, and being assigned with the first Stryker vehicles in the Army, where he developed methods to employ and integrate them into our maneuver unit's tactics, techniques and procedures."

Mixon noted that Leota's wife Vira, a retired first sergeant, works as a management services specialist with USARPAC's G3/5/7.

"Vira," he said. "You are already part of the USARPAC Team, but now I welcome you to the command group family. Thank you for all you do in support of your husband, Soldiers, the United States Army Pacific and the Army."

Sergeant Major Leota re-established the Air Assault Course and the Combat Field Medical Badge program for all units on Oahu, developed a Joint Warrior Competition involving all branches of service, and introduced Warrior Tasks to the examination process for the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and for the Career Counselor competition.

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Expeditionary Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with the Bronze Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Southwest Asia Medal with Bronze Star, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), and the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia).

"Sergeant Major Leota, I have every confidence in you to carry on the proud tradition of the United States Army Pacific," said Mixon. "Welcome."

USARPAC is the largest Army Service Component Command in the Army. There are more than 60,000 Soldiers stationed in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan and South Korea.

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