Thomson becomes new Aviation Branch Command Sgt. Maj.
March 29, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 29, 2012) -- Emotions ran high as Fort Rucker said goodbye to one of its leaders and welcomed a new command sergeant major during the change of responsibility ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum March 27.
The official portion of the ceremony kicked off with the traditional passing of the noncommissioned officer sword from the outgoing Aviation Branch Command Sgt. Maj. Tod L. Glidewell, to Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, to the incoming Aviation Branch Command Sgt. Maj. James H. Thomson. The passing of the sword signifies the relinquishing of the responsibility and authority from the outgoing to the incoming CSM.
The ceremony began as Glidewell's wife, Toni, and their daughters, Ashlee and April, were presented with red roses. Similar yellow roses were presented to Thomson's wife, Jennifer, and mother, Patricia, representing their arrival to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence.
While Fort Rucker says goodbye to one of its leaders, it welcomes new leadership in Thomson, who was chosen by Crutchfield as the new Aviation Branch CSM because, according to Crutchfield, he is articulate, smart, dedicated and has a vision for the Army.
"I'm truly honored and consider it a privilege to serve these heroes [of Fort Rucker]," said Thomson. "Jen and I absolutely adore Fort Rucker and are in love with the charm of the surrounding Wiregrass, and we're looking forward to bringing our Family down here.
"I'm excited about what the future holds for Army Aviation," he said, "and I'm committed to serving the talented Soldiers, civilians and Families of our great Branch."
Thomson went on to thank his parents for the example they set with over 40 years of service to the nation; Crutchfield for the opportunity to serve the Soldiers, civilians and Families of the Aviation Branch; Glidewell for his leadership and the example he set for everyone to follow; and his wife and children for their love, support and sacrifice.
"I have total confidence in [Thomson] and I want everyone here to know that [it] is unwavering, and I'm proud to have [him] on the team as my newest battle-buddy," said Crutchfield. "Although I hate to see [Glidewell] go, I know that our Branch is in great hands, our Army is in great hands, and [Glidewell] will continue to do the great work that [he's] done."
Glidewell and his Family will be moving to Hunstville where he will be the new CSM at Aviation and Missle Life Cycle Management Command at Redstone Arsenal, according to Crutchfield.
"I'm saying goodbye to my battle-buddy -- to my sergeant." he said. "Every Soldier has a sergeant, and for the past 18 months, Glidewell has been my sergeant. He ensured that I was taken care of, made sure that I was following the standard and made sure that I knew the standard -- never compromising. That's why it's hard to say goodbye."
Glidewell served as Aviation Branch CSM for the last three years, taking care of Soldier issues, maintenance-related issues, and taking care of Families, civilians and contractors, said the major general, adding that the outgoing CSM served to make a better quality of life for 4,000 Soldiers and 13,000 Family members.
The outgoing CSM also oversaw 63,000 acres of training land and nearly 2,400 facilities making sure that Fort Rucker's aircraft were ready to fly to "train America's greatest Aviators," said Crutchfield.
"Today I pass the reigns as the [Aviation] Branch CSM, and I have many to thank," said Glidewell. "Although Jim and I passed the sword a few moments ago commemorating the event, this event is truly about our Army and how our Army is responsible for growing leaders."
Glidewell served Fort Rucker under two commanding generals, former USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general Maj. Gen. James O. Barclay, and Crutchfield. He considers both close friends.
"I respect [Barclay and Crutchfield] for the tough choices that they have made to lead this Branch, not just now, but into the future," said Glidewell.
He went on the thank the Soldiers of Fort Rucker, saying that the sacrifices they make and continue to make set and strengthen the bond that has been forged between the Aviation Branch and their ground brethren.
"[The Soldiers] have taken what were pockets of excellence in our Branch and transformed them into world-class Aviation support," said the outgoing CSM. "Not just for our Army, but for our joint and coalition partners."
He also showed his appreciation to the civilians in the communities that train and welcome Soldiers with open arms, saying that it is the community that provides the concrete that bonds the blocks of the Army together, enabling it to project the combat power necessary to defend this nation.