VICENZA, Italy - Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes joined U.S. Army Africa as its senior noncommissioned officer in an assumption of responsibility ceremony today at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.

"Thank you all for attending today," said U.S. Army Africa Commander, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg.

"This is an important ceremony for this command. I want to say thank you to our Italian host for being here, especially the Carabinieri. . . . the rest of the community, the command element from the 173rd and other members of the community," Hogg said.

"I want to say thank you to Command Sgt. Maj. Miller . . . (he) has been the acting command sergeant major here for about three or four months. He has done a fabulous job.

"Now as everybody understands, the noncommissioned officer corps is the backbone of our Army, and the U.S. Army has the best noncommissioned officer corps in the world.

"The thing about a command sergeant major is, he embodies everything the noncommissioned officer corps is about. He's got the experience, he's got the credibility, and he understands Soldiers, and what it means to be a member of our Army.

"And so that's what we have today when we bring in Command Sgt. Maj. Rhodes as the senior enlisted Soldier in this command. And so that everybody understands, Command Sgt. Maj. Rhodes was not assigned to this command - he was selected for this command. And he was selected on a list of about 10 highly qualified command sergeants major who applied and wanted to be the command sergeant major for U.S. Army Africa.

"And based on Command Sgt. Maj. Rhodes' qualifications, he was the best man for the job, and subsequently he was personally selected by me to be our next command sergeant major," Hogg said.

"Sir, thanks very much," said Rhodes.

"I want to spend just a couple of minutes this morning talking about two things that matter to me as I come into this position. First thing I want to do is, I want to talk about just Soldiers, and the second thing I want to do is, I want to talk a little bit about leadership.

"When you serve in the forces that protect your country, and your way of life and your family - that is the most noble calling you can respond to. That's what I see in Soldiers," Rhodes said, pledging his commitment to the men and women of the command.

"I will always be open to time with you. My door is open. . . . Get on the calendar and you can come in, no appointment necessary through your chain of command; just get on my calendar so I'll be in the office. I've got time for Soldiers. I care about the things you do because what you do is real work.

"The second thing I want to say this morning is about the leadership part: I believe in leadership. As the CG alluded to earlier, it's not officer leadership or NCO leadership; it's just leadership. If you're in a position of responsibility, of command over someone else, you have a responsibility for your own ability before you have a responsibility for what they do. And you must not fail in that.

"Young Soldiers deserve leaders that like their job. If you don't like what you're doing, please get on my calendar and I will help you find another job; because if you don't like leading Soldiers, we are not going to get along.

"There is nothing more precious in my world than the responsibility of mentoring those below us."

"Sir, it is an honor to be here. We won't fail. Thank you," Rhodes said.

Rhodes served most recently as Commandant of the 7th Army NCO Academy in Grafenwoehr, Germany, and as the Command Sergeant Major of the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga.

Prior to that, he spent most of his 27-year service career with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Rhodes has deployed on combat operations to Panama, Kuwait, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star among numerous other awards.

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