By Mr. Richard L Rzepka (USAG Okinawa)January 16, 2015
TORII STATION, Okinawa -- Army leaders and civilians gathered Jan. 9 to bid farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Antez Gilbert, Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Army Garrison -- Okinawa and his Family.
Gilbert, known for his calm demeanor and wry sense of humor, served at USAG -- Okinawa for more than a year and will go on to lead Soldiers as the command sergeant major for the largest American hospital outside of the United States at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
"I consider myself fortunate to have had Command Sgt. Maj. Gilbert as my battle buddy during most of my command tour here on Okinawa," said Lt. Col. Eric Martinez, USAG -- Okinawa commander. "His service has been exceptional by all accounts. His commitment to Soldiers, Families and civilians is second to none."
As only the second command sergeant major of U.S. Army Garrison -- Okinawa, Gilbert has seen the garrison evolve and flourish.
"He saw many opportunities for improvement and tackled as many as he could," said Martinez.
From advising the commander to spearheading the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program to ensuring Soldiers and Families here thrive in their day-to-day lives, Gilbert accepted the challenge of helping lead a garrison formation made up primarily of civilians.
"There's been a tremendous improvement in the garrison footprint and the garrison presence here," said Col. Joy L. Curriera, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison -- Japan. "I want all of you here to understand how important it is, that while you do your mission, the garrison has to keep the foothold on all base operations, and keep all of those facilities and programs running for you," she said. "Your diligence and passion for what you do, to bring the very best to your organization and all of those around you, is greatly appreciated."
Gilbert, along with the garrison, also recognized the contributions of his Family to the mission on Okinawa, realizing that while the strength of the Army is Soldiers, the strength of Soldiers is Families.
As he presented his wife and daughter bouquets of flowers, Gilbert noted the sacrifices that military Families make on behalf of their loved ones.
"These are coming from me, but they are also on behalf of all of these folks out here for everything you've done to support the community and put up with me all of these years," he said with a smile. "That's no easy task …"
As Gilbert thanked those in the audience that impacted his service on Okinawa, he noted that a constant in his leadership style is to treat people with dignity, fairness and respect.
"That's important to me and as a result of that, I believe we made this a more professional organization … that's what this is really about." he said. "While Landstuhl CSM is my ideal next assignment, I have to say that this assignment here has been the best assignment of my career. U.S. Army Garrison -- Okinawa … small but powerful. That's my mantra."