SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- The command sergeant major of the 9th Engineer Battalion relinquished his responsibilities here, May 3, in a rare ceremony signaling the eventual end to the storied battalion and the looming deactivation of the 172nd Infantry Brigade.

The 9th Engineer Battalion's Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Stewart passed the battalion colors to Lt. Col. Jayson Gilberti, commander, 9th Engineer Battalion, at a Relinquishment of Responsibility ceremony on Ledward Barracks.

"What truly impressed me the most about my battle buddy was his passion to train Soldiers, develop leaders, and most of all, his passion for the care and welfare of our Soldiers and families," Gilberti said in his remarks about Stewart. "That is the essence of what has made Command Sgt. Maj. Stewart not a good NCO, but a great command sergeant major."

The 9th Engineer Battalion is a component of the 172nd Infantry Brigade. In February of 2012, the Defense Department announced that the brigade would inactivate by October of 2013, compelling all of its components, including the 9th Engineer Battalion, to deactivate as well.

At the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Stewart thanked the Soldiers, his command team, the 172nd leadership, the Command Sergeant of the Army, garrison staff, the Schweinfurt community, and his Soldiers and first sergeants.

Asked what he wanted his departing legacy to be, Steward said, "Taking care of Soldiers and families."

Command Sgt. Maj. Stewart entered active service Sept. 1, 1988, and his overseas tours have taken him to Hanau, Heidelberg and Schweinfurt, Germany, as well as Fort Polk, Fort Leonard Wood and Fort McPherson in the U.S. The Florida native has deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. A highly decorated Soldier, Stewart's awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals and three Army Commendation Medals -- among many others

Stewart leaves Schweinfurt en route to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where his next assignment is still to be determined, he said.

The Relinquishment of Responsibility ceremony is a symbolic gesture freeing the command sergeant major of the duties and responsibilities of the battalion's most senior enlisted Soldier and sole custodian of the battalion colors. Typically, the command sergeant major would change responsibilities to another, but that won't be necessary since Army restructuring is disbanding the battalion in the ensuing months.

The battalion commemorates its deactivation at a casing ceremony, May 31, in Grafenwoehr along with the other components of the 172nd Infantry Brigade, including Schweinfurt's 172nd Support Battalion and 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment.

The majority of Soldiers in the 9th Engineer Battalion will either receive orders to permanently change duty stations or discharge from service. Others will transfer to units in the area, such as Schweinfurt's 18th Engineer Brigade while others will continue temporary work as a cadre in Schweinfurt.

Begun in 1917, the 9th Engineer Battalion cemented its importance in U.S. military history at the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River, better known in World War II history as the Bridge at Remagen.