NCO Academy welcomes new commandant
Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Johnson takes the NCOA colors from Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, during a change-of-command ceremony Monday at Lincoln Hall Auditorium.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Sgt. Maj. John Vicars relinquished command of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy to Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Johnson during a ceremony in Lincoln Hall Auditorium on Jan. 23.

"Today, I leave a position that I never expected to hold," Vicars said. "When I left the Sergeants Major Academy seven and a half months ago, I expected to come back to Fort Leonard Wood, get on a plane and go straight to Afghanistan, but as the Lord would have it, that is not the way things worked out."

Vicars said that every Soldier wants to be a part of something great, and for him that greatness was being a part of the NCO academy.

During the opening remarks, Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, recognized the contributions Vicars had made to the NCOA while he served as commandant and welcomed Johnson as the new commandant.

"People often wonder what we say to each other while we are passing the colors," Yenter said. "I told Sgt. Maj. Vicars, 'thanks for a job well done; thank you for your leadership,' and what I said to Command Sgt. Maj. Johnson was, 'lead them to greatness.'"

"My assessment of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy is that it is in great shape -- it is really squared away. We are well postured … as we go forward and take on the changes that are happening across the United States Army during this calendar year and the year after that," Yenter said.

"I appreciate the vision of those commandants in the past and what they have done to set the conditions for the success that we see today."

"I want to thank Sgt. Maj. John Vicars for holding the reins; as I said, it's not only the finest but the most diverse and largest NCO Academy in the Army. Sgt. Maj. Vicars has done a tremendous job of overseeing the Warrior Leader Course, as well as the Advanced and Senior Leader Courses of the three regiments. He has effectively provided leadership for 19 programs of instruction in an organization that trains more than 3,000 NCOs a year," Yenter added. "He has a strong record of leadership and success."

Yenter told those gathered, that he thought Johnson would absolutely bring the right experience, the right depth of knowledge and the right leadership to the critical task of serving as the NCOA commandant.

"I am confident that you will continue to build on the important legacy of not only Sgt. Maj. Vicars, but the commandants before him," Yenter said to Johnson.

Prior to becoming the commandant of the NCOA, Johnson served as the Headquarters of the United States Pacific Command senior enlisted advisor in Hawaii and was the principal advisor to the Chief of Staff. He has been stationed at the National Training Center, Calif.; Fort Polk, La.; Camp Hialeah and Camp Yongsan, South Korea; and Fort Lewis, Wash. Johnson and his wife, Tiffany, have three children.

Page last updated Thu January 26th, 2012 at 00:00