Army, USASMA farewells academy's 17th CSM
October 22, 2007
FORT BLISS, TEXAS (TRADOC News Service, Oct. 22, 2007) -- Staff, faculty, students, family members and friends filled the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy East Auditorium to farewell and honor the academy's 17th Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Dale, during his retirement ceremony Oct. 16.
The ceremony applauded the many lasting contributions Dale made to the Academy, the Noncommissioned Officer Corps and the NCO Education System during his 32-plus years of military service.
Prior to his March 26, 2004 assumption of responsibility at USASMA, Dale held numerous influential leadership positions throughout the Army, to include being a course developer for the Master Gunner Course, the NCO in charge of Gun Training and Doctrine Branch and the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Cadet Command.
"It's impossible for me to even begin to do justice to the countless Soldiers, families and Americans [Dale] has impacted - it's an ever-expanding and never-ending impact that lives at ever level of our Army," said Col. Donald Gentry, USASMA commandant, during the ceremony.
Gentry also highlighted just a few of the many things Dale accomplished during his time at the academy, such as spearheading massive advancements in junior NCO education, supervising the rewrite of the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, helping bridge the distance learning gaps in senior enlisted education, and earning national recognition by being named the 2006 Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award recipient - an honor earned by only one African American Soldier in the Army each year.
Retired Lt. Col. Allen Forte, a Dale-family friend and the ceremony's guest speaker, shared the different aspects of leadership he witnessed Dale master during his military career with both his family and his Soldiers. Forte also read an unofficial award commendation created by Dale's family, friends and former troops, thanking the retiree for the person he has been to them.
Fighting back tears, Dale reminisced on the many changes he'd seen during his decades in the Army and thanked the many Soldiers he served with throughout his career.
"The Army is what I know - what I've done for so long," he said. "I can still remember all the Soldiers I've led."
Still leading, Dale used his final remarks in uniform to advise and challenge the many senior NCOs in the audience to stay true to themselves while leading their troops.
"People always told me, 'you smile too much - your too soft spoken,'" Dale said. "That's me though, and it worked for me - stay true to yourself."
To this new unknown chapter in his life, Dale said, "I always have and I always will think to myself, when I see our young troops flying out for Iraq and Afghanistan - 'God, if it's in your will,' and I say the same as I leave the Army, 'God, if it's in your will."
For his time at the academy and in honor of his retirement from the Army, Gentry presented Dale with the Legion of Merit, his certificate of retirement, and in Army tradition, an Army lapel pin and a folded American Flag.
Dale and his wife Virginia also received numerous certificates of appreciation from the academy and the Fort Bliss community.