By Capt. Jonathon DaniellDecember 18, 2017
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea - Command Sgt. Maj. Wilfredo Suarez, assumed the role as the senior enlisted leader for 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Dec. 19, from outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Eric R. McCray, during a change of responsibility ceremony at Osan Air Base, South Korea.
Suarez comes to South Korea from Fort Bliss, Texas, where he completed his assignment as the 5th Battalion, 52nd ADA battalion command sergeant major. This is his third assignment in South Korea.
"I'm excited about serving with the Dragon Brigade and meeting all the Soldiers," said Suarez. "I've heard nothing but great things about the unit and they have great reputation within the branch."
The Dragon Brigade is one of the premiere ADA outfits in the U.S. Army. They are the only brigade that employs the full complement of the branch's weapon systems, to include the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, Patriot and Avenger. The brigade also modernized their entire Patriot fleet with the most advanced technology throughout 2017.
McCray will return to Fort Bragg, North Carolina as the garrison command sergeant major.
"The hardest part about leaving any organization are the relationships that you leave behind," said McCray. "I've been fortunate to have served alongside great leaders in the Dragon Brigade and that's what I'll miss the most. I'll miss the all the people."
McCray was known throughout the brigade for his infectious smile, motivational speeches and being an absolute professional in the department of Soldiering.
He often referenced "Dragon State of Mind" in briefs and hip pocket discussions when visiting Soldiers in the field, a term he defined as embodying the warrior ethos and embracing the Army values.
"Command Sgt. Maj. McCray is the epitome of what we want in our senior leaders. He provides expert counsel, leads from the front, and deeply cares for each Soldier in his formation. With someone like him on the team, great things will certainly follow," said the 35th ADA Brigade Commander, Col. Rick W. Wright.
"At the same time, I'd be remiss if I didn't share my enthusiasm that we're getting a proven leader to join our ranks with Command Sgt. Maj. Suarez and I'm absolutely certain he's going to do great things for the brigade," Wright added.
The 35th ADA Brigade provides ballistic missile defense across the Korean Peninsula.