FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Soldiers of the 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group lined Howze Field as they welcomed a new command sergeant major during a ceremony July 7.

Command Sgt. Maj. Todd W. Hedrick assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn L. Jones as the NCO sword passed from one command sergeant major to the next.

Col. Michael E. Demirjian, Air Traffic Services Command and 164th TAOG commander, presided over the ceremony to welcome the new leader, while bidding farewell to the outgoing.

"Jones is a great patriot and warrior having served this nation faithfully for the past 30 years., and those of you who know who know Command Sergeant Major Jones well know that he spent a considerable amount of his career in the Special Operations Aviation Regiment and what he brought to us from there was tremendous," said the colonel. "Hedrick is also a product of the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, so the TAOG shouldn't miss a beat. I look forward to having you as my right-hand man and I know the team will benefit from your great focus and leadership. It's great knowing you're here and that you can make it happen."

Jones also offered his welcomed Hedrick and his family to the Guardian team.

"Todd, you have some of the finest Soldiers out here," he said. "Take care of them and train them hard. I'm glad to have you on board."

Hedrick began his military service in 1988 as an Army Reservist, completing Basic Training an Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as a combat engineer. He entered active-duty service in 1992 when he completed AIT at Fort Rucker as an observation scout helicopter repairer.

The incoming command sergeant major has served in numerous leadership positions across multiple continents throughout his almost 30-year career, including crew chief, flight instructor, platoon sergeant and battalion command sergeant major.

He has also served in multiple deployments, including Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Operation Restore Democracy in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Hedrick said he hopes to be able to fill the large shoes that Jones left behind and is ready to answer his call to lead.

"I'm looking forward working with the TAOG, and I'm ready and committed to giving the organization 110 percent to ensure that they are above the best that the Army has to offer," he said. "I want to thank Shawn for making the transition so smooth. You've gone above and beyond anyone could expect. You're leaving me a formation that is well versed and trained at the task ahead of them, and I could not ask for a better command sergeant major to assume responsibility from.

"To the officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the TAOG, you guys look awesome today and I can't thank you enough for your hard work," said the new command sergeant major. "I stand here before you humbled, ready and excited. I look forward to getting to know you and your families, and I'm eager to earn your trust and I'm honored to stand with you."