Fort Huachuca, Arizona -- The 111th Military Intelligence Brigade observed the traditional passing of the noncommissioned officer sword from one command sergeant major to another during a change of responsibility ceremony on Chaffee Parade Field March 4.
Col. Kevin R. Wilkinson, commander, 111th MI Bde., passed the responsibility of the senior enlisted position from Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony D. Whitney to Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald J. Ricord.
"We are here this morning to continue a time-honored Army tradition -- to transfer responsibility from one great leader to another -- as well as recognize the accomplishments of Command Sergeant Major Anthony Whitney and to welcome Command Sergeant Jerry Ricord to the 111th MI Brigade," Wilkinson said.
"Command Sergeant Whitney, you have performed remarkably. Being a brigade command sergeant major in a training brigade is a difficult task. The position entails being responsible for the health and welfare of over 3,500 Soldiers, in four battalions, spanning three states.
"Having said that, you made it look easy. You are the type of leader who always looked for solutions and spent little time dwelling on the problems. You empowered your battalion command sergeants major and provided them the opportunity to grow. While doing so, you provided them with sound advice and counsel. You immediately proved to be a trusted right-hand man to me and always told it like it was. You earned my respect from day one. I appreciate your mentorship over the past 20 months but more importantly, I appreciate your friendship," Wilkinson added and briefly described Whitney's accomplishments during the departing command sergeant major's tenure.
Next, the 111th MI Bde. commander spoke to Ricord.
"Command Sergeant Major Ricord, welcome aboard. Your background and experience will be invaluable to the brigade. As you get settled, I know the fort leadership and local community will make you feel welcome.
"Take time to review how business is done and make the necessary adjustments to continue to move this organization forward. Build and maintain the momentum for the journey.
"Soldiers and leaders of the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, Command Sergeant Major Ricord is the right leader to take this great brigade to the next level. He not only has an impeccable reputation, but has a vast level of experience at the tactical, operational, and strategic level. Welcome aboard," Wilkinson concluded.
Whitney said his goodbye to the audience during his final, formal address.
"These past two years as the brigade command sergeant major have been nothing short of great," he said. "I have been lucky to be surrounded by such professionals as yourselves. You are what makes my job both easy and enjoyable. I could not have asked for a better staff to work with than the brigade staff, from our great civilians to our green suitors. This brigade was one of the most rewarding units I have ever served for." He thanked the past and present battalion commanders and command sergeants major, calling them "true professionals." Whitney also thanked Wilkinson, and his sons Dominique, 12, Shane, 8, and his wife Susseete for their support.
He then addressed the incoming command sergeant major.
"Command Sergeant Major Ricord, you are inheriting an outstanding unit that trains the next generation of military intelligence professionals," Whitney said. "You are surrounded by great officers, warrant officers, civilians, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers who want to do nothing but help you succeed. Thank you again, Fort Huachuca, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade and Sierra Vista for all the support you have given me. Army Strong. Always Out Front, Mission First."
Ricord, incoming command sergeant major, then briefly spoke to the crowd.
"I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the command sergeant major for the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade," Ricord said. "I am excited to be here. Colonel Wilkinson, thank you for the opportunity to serve in this brigade. To the Soldiers … I want you to know nothing is impossible, and I look forward to working with everyone. God bless the U.S. Army and God bless America."
Ricord entered the U.S. Army on Oct. 17, 1990 as an Intelligence Analyst, 96B. He attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, followed by advanced individual training at Fort Huachuca. In addition to numerous assignments in the United States and abroad, he has deployed to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint Guard and deployed three time in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At the conclusion of the change of responsibility ceremony, in time-honored tradition, members of B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial), honored both the departing and incoming 111th MI Bde. command sergeants major with a charge across Chaffee Parade Field.
The 111th Military Intelligence Brigade's mission is to "train technically and tactically competent, adaptive, values-based Soldiers and leaders ready to contribute to the nation's intelligence efforts at every echelon, in support of the operational force, while caring for the brigade team," according to the unit's mission statement.