By Spc. Gregory T. Summers July 2, 2014
USAG YONGSAN, South Korea -- The 1st Signal Brigade held its Change of Responsibility Ceremony at USAG Yongsan's Knight Field June 25.
Soldiers, brigade leadership, civilians and family members bid farewell to their outgoing command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Darris Curry, and welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Andy G. Frye as the new command sergeant major of 1st Signal Brigade. The Eighth Army Band supported the ceremony providing music for both South Korean and American national anthems as well as ceremonial numbers.
Curry, a Columbia, S.C. native, graduated from Eau Claire High School in 1984. After high school, Curry joined the Army and completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson. He went on to attend Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Ga. to become a 72G, an Automatic Data Telecommunications Center Operator.
Throughout Curry's distinguished military career, he has held numerous leadership positions from squad leader up to Vice Presidential Communications Officer to command sergeant major. Curry's career and success has taken him all over the world. Curry has been stationed in Germany, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Fort Knox, Ky., Belgium, Fort Bliss, Texas, Baton Rouge, La. and most recently, South Korea. His previous deployments include tours to Pristina, Kosovo and Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Curry's military education includes the Primary Leadership Development Course, The Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses and the Battle Staff NCO Course. He is a graduate from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy's 54th Class. He earned his bachelor's degree in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland and received an Executive Masters of Business Administration concentrated on Information and Communications Technology from Alaska Pacific University.
He has earned the Information Technology certifications of Certified Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Security Plus, A Plus and Network Plus and is also a Certified Novell for Administrator (CNA) and Engineer (CNE). Curry is decorated with over 20 awards and medals highlighted by the Legion of Merit, the Presidential Service Badge, a Signal Regiment Silver Order of Mercury, and a bronze star.
Curry assumed duties as the command sergeant major for 1st Signal Brigade in June of 2012. He previously served as the command sergeant major for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 8th Army, command sergeant major for the 54th Signal Battalion, 160th Signal Brigade in Kuwait and the command sergeant major for the 59th Signal Battalion, 516th Signal Brigade in Alaska.
Col. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, commander, 1st Signal Brigade, marched Curry and Frye from the ready line towards the Brigade's colors and formation of Soldiers. Sgt. Maj. Randy S. Smith, S3 operations sergeant major, 1st Signal Brigade, waited with the Noncommissioned Officer's Sword.
As the backbones of the Army, noncommissioned officers and their historic presence in the U.S. Army began in 1775 with the birth of the Continental Army. In 1840, an effort was made to give the noncommissioned officer corps greater prestige by adopting a distinctive sword; the Noncommissioned Officer's Sword. This sword, a fully functional weapon intended for hard and dedicated use, is no longer part of the Army's inventory, but continues to serve as a constant display of leadership, integrity and responsibility. The passing of the sword signifies the relinquishing of responsibility and authority from the outgoing to the incoming command sergeant major.
Curry received the Noncommissioned Officer's Sword from Smith, signifying the Brigade's appreciation for his leadership and guidance during his tenure as the command sergeant major. Curry then passed the sword to Fredenburgh as his last official act. Curry's passing of the sword is also his way to thank the commander for the opportunity to have led the Soldiers of the brigade.
Fredenburgh then turned and presented the Noncommissioned Officer's Sword to Frye, entrusting him with the responsibility, leadership and care of 1st Signal Brigade and its Soldiers as the newest command sergeant major. Frye then completed the passing of the sword by returning it to Smith, signifying his first official act as command sergeant major for 1st Signal Brigade.
After the passing of 1st Signal Brigade's Noncommissioned Officer's Sword, Fredenburgh spoke about the impact that Curry had as his senior enlisted advisor for the last two years as the brigade's command sergeant major. Fredenburgh said, "The achievements the 1st Signal Brigade was able to accomplish under Command Sgt. Maj. Curry's tenure clearly reflect the 'lead from the front' attitude that he had."
"Serving as the command sergeant major of the largest and only theater tactical signal brigade consisting of more than 2,000 Soldiers, civilians and Korean Augmentations to the U.S. Army (KATUSAs), Command Sgt. Maj. Curry directly supported over 20,000 personnel of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea, as well as the Eighth Army during armistice in the Republic of Korea," Fredenburgh said.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Curry, as the senior enlisted advisor, my right-arm, my battle buddy, provided candid advice, guidance and counsel which greatly strengthened our team," Fredenburgh added. "As you enter the next chapter of your Army career, I want you to know that you had an undeniable impact on the Korean theater of operations and you've been a great battle and will be missed."
Fredenburgh then went on to speak about Frye. "I would now like to welcome an equally talented leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Frye," Fredenburgh said. "Command Sgt. Maj. Frye brings a wealth of knowledge and tactical experience to this brigade. He is a proven leader and I have no doubt that he will continue to build upon the foundation laid by his predecessors. Soldiers of the 1st Signal Brigade can rest assured that you are getting a command sergeant major with a track record of success who is ready to take on new challenges."
Curry took the podium next and said, "Today marks a significant day in my life as I complete the most challenging and rewarding assignment of my career. It has truly been a great and humbling experience. Just 24 months ago, I accepted the responsibility to totally commit myself to the men, women, families and civilians of this great organization. Today marks the end of my tenure, but not of my commitment."
Curry then addressed his commander. "Col. Fredenburgh, it has been a great ride over the last two years," Curry said. "Thank you for having the confidence in me to serve as the command sergeant major. Thank you for always supporting me, being a true friend and a great mentor. I look forward to serving with you in the near future."
Curry then said his final goodbyes and spoke highly of Frye. "The only easy part of leaving the mighty 'Voice of the ROK,' 1st Signal Brigade is knowing that I am leaving the Brigade in the absolute capable hands of Command Sergeant Major Andy Frye," Curry said. "You are the right leader at the right time and I have no doubt you will lead the brigade and build on the many significant accomplishments already achieved."
Curry will become the next command sergeant major for 311th Signal Command in Hawaii.
Frye, a Rich Valley, Va. native, enlisted in the Army in 1985 and attended Basic Training at Fort Dix, N.J. He was awarded the 31K military occupational specialty, Combat Signalman, after completing Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon.
Working in every enlisted leadership position from assignments at Fort Lewis, Wash., Bamberg, Germany, Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, Ky. and multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, Frye brings plenty of experience and wisdom to the 1st Signal Brigade. He has completed all levels of the Noncommissioned Officers Education System and holds a bachelor's in Criminal Justice from Troy University. Frye's awards and decorations include three Bronze Stars and Meritorious Service Medals.
"Words cannot express how deeply honored I feel to assume this responsibility," Frye said. "The 1st Signal Brigade has a proud history and an impeccable reputation throughout the Signal Regiment and the entire Army and I am thrilled to now be a part of it. This is a privilege that I do not take lightly. I promise that I will do my best to uphold the standards and traditions."