MONTGOMERY, Ala. - U.S. Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Flubacher relinquished responsibility as the senior enlisted adviser of the 412th Theater Engineer Command to Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Castelveter in a ceremony Feb. 7 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Maj. Gen. Tracy A. Thompson, commanding general, 412th TEC served as the reviewing official for the ceremony.
"When you're a young Soldier, not only do you live in awe of command sergeants major, you never think you'll be one. Both of these gentlemen here I'm sure were in that same situation where they were in awe of the command sergeants major they saw and tried to avoid on a daily basis when they were young, but never conceived that not only would they become command sergeants major, but they would go on to becoming a level of command sergeant major of a two-star major subordinate command," said Thompson.
"When you put all the Soldiers that come through the system through the sieves and the measurement systems that we built for them, almost everyone is screened out. Statistically, it's probably almost zero who will reach this level. I wanted you to know that because that's who your dad is and that's the rarity he has shown as a Soldier and the skills and exceptional abilities he's shown as a Solider and a leader," Thompson added, addressing Flubacher's daughter, Gretchen.
This was the first time in Flubacher's career a family member has attended one of his ceremonies.
"It's my last so I'm glad we finally got one for you, sweetheart," Flubacher said to Gretchen during his speech.
Flubacher leaves the 412th TEC after three years as the senior enlisted adviser, serving more than a year as the interim senior enlisted adviser prior to officially taking the position.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Flubacher, I want to thank you personally for being my battle buddy and also, you were here long before I was, you did a lot of great things for this command before I arrived and those involved sacrifices on your part as a person, I know you gave up many things," said Thompson. "You've sacrificed a lot and I think that your legacy will live on long after you're gone through the Soldiers you've mentored, trained and helped along the way. So, I appreciate that."
Castelveter was also sad to see Flubacher move on.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Flubacher, he's a remarkable individual. I had the honor to serve with him on the board of directors. When you talk about family, we are a family in every which way. It brings tears to my eyes that I won't see him there on a regular basis," said Castelveter. "To have Gretchen here is a great honor. Gretchen, thank you, because you know the sacrifices you made for your father made a great leader and a great individual. He's a friend and we all thank you and we love you. You are family."
Flubacher will retire in June after 34 years in the Army. His final battle assembly was in November and the cooks made a special lunch for his final meal with the unit.
"What I ended up doing was serving my last supper. That's what I always enjoyed doing was being with Soldiers, talking to Soldiers and serving those holiday meals," said Flubacher. "I couldn't think of a better way to have my last battle assembly. Then on the way to catch my flight the next morning, then it starts hitting me. This is it. I'm done. The 412th is always going to be very close to my heart."
Castelveter assumed the duties of the 412th TEC senior enlisted adviser Dec. 1, 2014 after serving as the senior enlisted ad visor for the 99th Regional Support Command.
"I'm so psyched, because as I said, you remember your first assignment and your last one you remember. I will remember this big time, because you have a great team here, all the way across the board," said Castelveter. "It's only been a couple of months and I'll go into battle or do anything with this team. That's how confident I feel."
Castelveter is confident in the team around him and Thompson is confident in his abilities and has high hopes in Castelveter.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Castelveter, who I was happy to bring aboard and give him some specific missions. I told him when I handed him the flag, I didn't say congratulations, I didn't say looking forward to working with you, I said: I have very high expectations," said Thompson. "Sgt. Maj. Castelveter has already been successful. This is the beginning of Sgt. Maj. Castelveter's journey with us and I have very high expectations and you should have them as well because he needs to and should and will mentor and grow your junior leaders and help your command sergeants major get better and hopefully one of them will be the person he passes the flag to when he leaves."
Flubacher addressed the audience, mostly commanders throughout the 412th TEC, and what is needed from them and their units with this transition.
"Gen. Thompson mentioned that when he handed the guidon to Sgt Maj. Castelveter that he has high expectations so those high expectations are going to be put on the burden of your command sergeants major, your first sergeants, your leaders," said Flubacher. "This is very important as I'm sure you've been hearing these last couple of days I'm sure from Gen. Thompson and Sgt. Maj. Castelveter, that we need you to get on board to improve this organization. Change is about improvement. So, that's what these two fine leaders are going to be doing: improving our organization."