GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - After four years as the Senior listed advisor to the Command General of Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC), Command Sgt. Maj. Darieus A. ZaGara transitioned his authority in a change of responsibility ceremony here April 14.

As part of the ceremony, ZaGara was also honored for his 31 years of military service as he, joined by his wife Belinda, marked his retirement from the U.S. Army.

"It has always been said that the NCO Corps is the backbone of the Army," said Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar, commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command. "However, these words do not convey the depth and breadth of the support Command Sergeant Major ZaGara provided to this command, U.S. Army Europe and our multinational partners."

According to Salazar, through his work with the 7th Army NCO Academy (NCOA), the oldest and largest Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in the United States Army, ZaGara sought to provide training units the best trained instructors and resources to build future leaders. In 2009, former NCOA instructor Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Beckman was selected as the Department of the Army NCO of the year.

As the only place in the U.S. Army that regularly trains with multinational partners, the JMTC supports U.S. European Command's theater security cooperation initiatives.

"This command is the most diverse and multifaceted organization I have ever had the pleasure of serving in," ZaGara said.

ZaGara worked with the NCO corps of multinational partners, helping nations like Poland develop NCO academies specific to the needs of their country, remarked Salazar.

"In no small measure, he is the reason we can say there is no better place to train for Afghanistan," Salazar said.

Although, this was "good bye" for ZaGara, he managed to make light of his retirement while delivering his remarks to the command and guests in attendance.

"Many noncommissioned officers, officers and warrant officers have influenced me to desire serving for over 30 years," ZaGara said. "But the driving force for who I am, and my love for the Army, is in the Soldiers and their supporting cast - the families for whom Belinda and I have served for so long."

Stationed in Fort Sill, Fort Bliss, Fort Stewart, with multiple assignments in Germany, he held positions ranging from section chief, instructor, to command sergeant major at the battalion and brigade level. He also served two tours in Bosnia, as well as two tours in Iraq.

"He is what I like to call a battle-worn warrior," Salazar said. "However, as he moves on to bigger and better things, he will take with him the lessons learned as a military professional, secure in the knowledge of a job well-done."

Coming from Fort Richardson, Alaska, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis C. Zavodsky took over the position as the JMTC's Command Sergeant Major.

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