FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A crowd of Family, friends and fellow Soldiers turned out to watch the 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Change of Responsibility ceremony July 11, at Fort Campbell, Ky., as Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis J. Collins symbolically transferred responsibility as battalion command sergeant major to Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Rendon.
The ceremony took place behind the 129th CSSB's companies' building in the 101st Sustainment Brigade quad. The Soldiers proudly formed up with the massive brigade unit patch, known as the "Death Star," as a backdrop. Heavy equipment the battalion uses flanked the formation, demonstrating some of the battalion's capabilities.
The highlight of the ceremony was when the honor guard handed the NCO sword to Collins for the last time. After one final inspection of the weapon, he passed the sword to Lt. Col. Abel Young, commander of the 129th CSSB. Young then passed the sword, along with the responsibility of the battalion, to Rendon.
Young then addressed the formation and praised Collins, a native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, for some of his achievements while serving as command sergeant major of the battalion. Young, a native of Chicago Heights, Illinois, said Collins deployed seven companies to support worldwide U.S. military operations. He also oversaw the activation of the 74th Transportation Company as part of the Army's ongoing force structure realignment, which will optimize Army forces to meet the challenges facing our nation.
"With Command Sgt. Maj. Collins' leadership ability, the brigade and the division transported over 6,000 containers and 10,000 Air Assault Soldiers on 300 division missions," said Young. "The battalion led the way in maintenance and transportation support for all of Fort Campbell, while being asked to conduct Air Assault and deployed operations simultaneously. [The] 129th took on the challenge and performed brilliantly," he said.
Young said the time he spent working with Collins as both the 101st Sustainment Brigade's rear detachment command team and the 129th CSSB's command team allowed him to develop a good working relationship with him. He expressed his respect for his trusted adviser.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Collins has done an excellent job of ensuring every Soldier is superbly trained, disciplined and fit and prepared to meet the demands of the Nation," said Young as he continued to list Collins achievements. "The 129th's success has greatly to do with the experience and leadership of Command Sgt. Maj. Collins. He has high standards and has continued moreover and demonstrated on a daily basis what it means to be the backbone of the Army."
Collins thanked all in attendance and said many people from his wife to his former commanders and colleagues had helped him achieve success.
"Some people would like to claim themselves as self made, but I am far from that," said Collins. "I am the product and I am the result. I am the culmination of what I have received from each and every one of you sitting in the chairs today."
Although the "Drive the Wedge" battalion lost a well-respected leader, they gained a new one in Rendon, who has spent time at both the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Pentagon. Young expressed full confidence in his leadership abilities.
"The Soldiers of the 129th are a great example of what it means to be Army Strong," said Young. "I expect them to excel in the coming years with Command Sgt. Maj. Rendon and I."
Rendon, a native of Pico Rivera, in Los Angeles, California, took responsibility for one of the largest battalions on Fort Campbell and an integral part of the U.S. Army's logistics capabilities. The battalion has seven companies, two movement control teams and the capacity to support any mission the sustainment brigade can give it.
Collins and Rendon also took part in an informal award ceremony before the change of responsibility ceremony. Collins received the Meritorious Service Medal for his contributions to the battalion.
After Young pinned the MSM on his uniform, Collins spoke to those in attendance at the ceremony, expressing his devotion to the unit. He said this unit was like a Family to him. Although he is leaving for a new assignment, he hopes to return and become the brigade's command sergeant major.
"I love this organization and I love the people I work with, truly I do," said Collins. "For me it's hard to walk away from a position like that."