By Franklin FisherFebruary 18, 2016
CAMP CASEY -- The garrison that manages U.S. Army installations from Korea's Demilitarized Zone to a point about an hour north of Seoul, has a new senior enlisted leader.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Berry assumed responsibility as the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I's senior enlisted leader Feb. 16 in a change-of-responsibility ceremony on Camp Casey.
He replaces Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick M. Quirk, who moves to a new assignment after serving as the garrison's senior enlisted leader for the past 24 months.
The garrison's main day-to-day mission is to support the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, the bulk of whose combat forces are in Area I, which is in the northwest of South Korea.
The 10 a.m. ceremony went forward inside the Carey Physical Fitness Center on a morning that saw snow falling steadily.
In remarks during the ceremony, Col. Jack Haefner, Commander, USAG Red Cloud and Area I, praised Quirk as a leader who'd played a central role in the functioning of the garrison.
"Sergeant Major Quirk," said Haefner, "if ever there was a functioning key -- a true partner, an integral collaborator -- it has been you these past two years.
"Whenever there was a challenge, you didn't walk, you ran, to the sound of the guns," Haefner said. "Whenever there were employees that needed to be heard on an issue, you were there.
"Whenever there was a complex issue with which our mission partners needed assistance, you were there to get down to the central issue, make connections, and give context, so that we could bring the garrison's resources to bear on the problem."
Haefner also addressed himself to Berry, who has spent the past several weeks in Area I in a transition to today's assumption of responsibility. Haefner said the Army had made the right decision in choosing Berry, as it had previously in choosing Quirk, as the garrison's new senior enlisted leader.
"Working with you the last few weeks," Haefner said, "I have every confidence that the Army got it right. Again. I can't wait to serve together."
During his farewell remarks, Quirk acknowledged what he said was the important teamwork and commitment the garrison's Soldiers and civilians have demonstrated.
And he had a word of thanks for Haefner, partly for "late night talks and discussions and, of course, our sounding board sessions…," but also for inviting Quirk to share in the life of Haefner's family here in Korea.
Those things, said Quirk, amounted to "something that I will cherish forever" and that meant "more than you will ever know."
Berry, in his first remarks to the garrison as its new senior enlisted leader, said "First, let me thank God for blessing me with this opportunity to lead and support the Army's most precious resource, the American Soldier, and also the hard-working civilians in Area I."
Quirk had "left some large shoes to fill, the bar has been set high, but I accept the challenge and wish you all the best," Berry said.
"I aspire," said Berry, "to be a servant-leader to you all, with my core beliefs of faith, family, discipline, gratitude and grace."
Shortly before the change-of-responsibility ceremony, the garrison held separately an awards ceremony for Quirk, also inside the Fitness Center, during which Haefner presented quirk the Legion of Merit. The award, according to its accompanying written citation, is for "exceptionally meritorious service" during his tenure with the garrison.
Berry was born in Fort Jackson, S.C., and entered the Army in 1992.
He has participated in three rotations of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
His awards and decorations include, among others, the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters. Berry is a U.S. Army Master Parachutist and has been awarded, among other badges, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Drill Sergeant Badge, as well as German, and Belgian, parachutist's wings.
Berry holds a bachelor of science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Liberty University, and associate degrees in Applied Science, and Business Administration Management, from Georgia Military College.
He is married to the former Kenya Snead. They have two sons, Kenyon and Kristian.