Alexandria, Va. - The Army Installation Management Command bid farewell to its command sergeant major July 14 when Command Sgt. Maj. Debra L. Strickland relinquished her responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. John M. Gaines Jr. during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

Strickland had served as the command's senior enlisted adviser since IMCOM stood up Oct. 24, 2006. She is being reassigned as a base sergeant major with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Gaines was selected to come to IMCOM headquarters from his most recent assignment as command sergeant major of IMCOM-Europe.

"IMCOM command sergeant majors are committed to the care of our Soldiers and their Families, and the workforce of every garrison around the world, said Strickland. "I thank them for their dedication during such a significant time for our installations, and this has been a satisfying ending to my time with installation management team."

In August 2002, Strickland was selected as the first command sergeant major for the Installation Management Agency, a nominative position and brand new Army organization. She moved on to serve as the senior enlisted adviser to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management in August 2006. Two months later, the Installation Management Agency was redesignated as the Installation Management Command, and Strickland assumed duties as IMCOM's command sergeant major. She concurrently serves as the senior enlisted adviser to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

During his remarks, assistant chief of staff for installation management and commanding general of IMCOM, Lt. Gen. Robert Wilson, said that there is no other senior enlisted advisor who has done more from IMCOM than Strickland. She has been a key advisor to him and has directly supported an Army at war for the past six years.

"Command Sergeant Major Strickland has been a chief advocate and strong supporter for quality of life initiatives for both single Soldiers and Soldiers' Families. She developed the concept of centralized barracks, which is now the First Sergeant Barracks Initiative - a huge success," Wilson said.

Strickland developed and implemented the first National Capital Regional Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Competition. She forged a partnership with the Military District of Washington, and the Intelligence and Security Command and put together resources and assets to form the competition. This allows IMCOM Soldiers to compete at the same level as other major Army commands.

Strickland also acquired funding to develop and expand the curriculum of a course that garrison command sergeant majors take for professional development, which gives them the toolkits they need to lead their Soldiers.

Gaines said Strickland has laid the foundation, and he will continue to look after Soldier and Family readiness initiatives with the mission to provide equitable services and facilities.

"Command Sgt. Maj. John Gaines has worked his way through several IMCOM level assignments to be selected for this responsibility," said Strickland. "I am confident he will continue building on the significant contributions he has already made to this organization."

In her remarks, Strickland shared an excerpt from the leadership field manual she received when she made sergeant. She said these are words she has lived by through her 35 years of services.

"Selfless service means putting the needs and goals of the nation, the Army and your unit and your Soldiers ahead of your personal needs ... as a leader you must be the greatest servant in your unit," Strickland said. "If you believe in selfless service, then you know you are not the sole expert. Once you leave the podium there will be someone to follow ... that is the Army way. As much as you work hard to establish something that is connected with you, it is better when you able to leave it and it blends seamlessly with the person who comes behind you."

She said she is passing the job on to someone who is quite capable and has worked to make sure Gaines will find it easy to step in and continue on.

"Sergeant Major Strickland is tireless and tenacious and has made significant, long term positive contributions to Soldiers," Wilson said. "We will certainly welcome her back when she completes her mission in Afghanistan."