Thunderbolt Brigade welcomes, bids farewell to command sergeants major
December 7, 2012
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers with 17th Fires Brigade said goodbye to the brigade command sergeant major and welcomed a new one during a change of responsibility ceremony, Dec. 6.
Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Russell relieved Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Moriarty of responsibility of the brigade with the traditional passing of the noncommissioned officer sword that signifies loyalty and dedication to duty.
Backing the ceremony were formations from each battalion within the brigade, and watching from the audience seating were family members and special guests. The room was full with respect for the command sergeants major and the tradition of the ceremony.
During his speech, Col. Ken Kamper, the 17th Fires Bde. commander, reminded attendees of the importance of the change of responsibility ceremony.
"Today we recognize two professionals who have worked, studied and trained throughout their careers," he said.
Kamper went on to describe Moriarty and what he's done for the brigade.
"[Moriarty] embodies in spirit and in action, in word and in deed, every sentence and every word of the Noncommissioned Officer Creed," Kamper said.
"We've been fortunate to serve with you, we're a better organization for having served with you, your commitment to all that you have brought to our team has simply been tremendous," he added.
For Moriarty, the ceremony was a chance to speak to the brigade one last time. As a command sergeant major, Moriarty committed to appreciating and supporting soldiers in the brigade, and he did so even through his words.
"I do believe today is not about me, but about the people in the audience and the people in the formation," said Moriarty.
He went on to talk about his time with the brigade and express the gratitude he has for working with the soldiers. His speech consisted of everything from jokes that brought roaring laughter from the audience, to sincere words that left people nodding in agreeance, smiles spread across their faces.
With one last thing to do as the acting Thunderbolt command sergeant major, Moriarty welcomed Russell as his replacement, ensuring soldiers and family members that he knows the brigade will be in the most capable and caring hands upon his departure.
Kamper did the same at the end of his speech, saying, "[Russell is] the right person at the right time to continue the tradition of excellence in our noncommissioned officer corps right here in the Thunderbolt Brigade. We're very excited to serve with you as we accomplish our mission and take care of Soldiers and their families."
According to Russell, it's a mission he's eager to take on.
"This is going to be a great assignment," he said. "I've got some wonderful command sergeants major and wonderful commanders here, and we have a command climate in 17th Fires Brigade that I believe is one of the best."
Russell plans on helping commanders apply their vision and guidance across the brigade. A big part of that plan, for him, is supporting soldiers.
"What I want Soldiers to know is that I'm here for them," he said. "My focus is 17th Fires Brigade and its Soldiers entirely. They can visit me 24/7, and my door is open anytime. I am a soldiers' sergeant major."
Russell hopes to promote camaraderie within the brigade with a simple philosophy: "The bottom line is to have fun and appreciate the soldiers you're working with, appreciate the team and the drive toward mission accomplishment."