CAMP CASEY -- U.S. Army Garrison Casey has a new senior enlisted leader.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jason R. Copeland assumed responsibility as the garrison's top enlisted Soldier Oct. 6 during a 10:30 a.m. change-of-responsibility ceremony inside the Carey Physical Fitness Center on Camp Casey.
Copeland replaces Command Sgt. Maj. Pedro Guevara, Jr., who served as the garrison's senior enlisted leader since November 2014, and who now moves to a new assignment.
Both have made their Army careers in the Military Police Corps.
In formal remarks during the ceremony, Lt. Col. Jon R. Gardner, Commander, USAG Casey, praised Guevara as "the backbone" of the Camp Casey-Camp Hovey community.
"As some of you have heard me say, previously, the non-commissioned officers are called 'the backbone of the Army,'" Gardner said. Guevara "has been the backbone of the entire camp," said Gardner. "Tirelessly working behind the scenes to improve the lives of all Soldiers on Camps Casey and Hovey.
"Never one for spotlight or accolades, he would prefer to keep his head down, roll his sleeves up, and get to work," Gardner said of Guevara. "Sergeant Major, I appreciate your dedication and all of your hard work, and wish you the best of luck in the future"
Gardner noted that Copeland has 20 years of Army experience and "an outstanding reputation in the Army, with many years of experience working with and for garrisons and will be a great addition to our team."
Gardner welcomed Copeland and his wife to "the Camp Casey family. Sergeant Major, we know that you will work tirelessly for the Soldiers, civilians and family members in and around Camp Casey and Hovey. There's never a shortage of work to be done so your energy and motivation is welcome."
In farewell remarks, Guevara said his assignment with the garrison has been "a very rewarding one."
"The other night I was telling my friends, if I could turn back time and start my two years over again, I would. This assignment has been a very rewarding one."
Guevara devoted the bulk of his remarks to thanking various people by name, including members of the Area I military community and those in the local Korean community.
Guevara had a special word for the garrison's Soldiers, who are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Red Cloud.
"To the Soldiers of HHC," Guevara said, "your contributions to the garrison do not go unnoticed…Always remember, you are vital to the garrison mission."
He also had a word for the Camp Casey-Camp Hovey Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program, to which he was senior adviser.
"To my BOSS Council and unit representatives, continue to sustain and improve your BOSS program," he said. "Your commitment to BOSS is remarkable, and the success of Casey-Hovey BOSS is an indication of your hard work. Thank you."
Copeland, Guevara told the audience, joins the garrison with "a great reputation in the Military Police Corps" and is "the right choice to be your next garrison Command Sergeant Major."
"Jason, I welcome you and your family to Korea," Guevara said. "You will soon experience what I just did during my tenure on Camp Casey. Embrace and enjoy it, because before you know it, these two years will go by quickly."
In his first remarks after assuming his new responsibilities, Copeland thanked Col. Brandon D. Newton, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Berry, USAG Red Cloud and Area I's senior enlisted leader, for advice they've given him on his new role.
"Your guidance certainly didn't fall on deaf ears," said Copeland, "and I look forward to both the challenges and success in the near future....
"I am prepared and eager to get to work."
Shortly before the change-of-responsibility ceremony, the garrison held separately an awards ceremony for Guevara, also inside the Fitness Center, during which Newton presented Guevara the Meritorious Service Medal. The award, according to the accompanying written citation, is for "exceptionally meritorious service" and "outstanding performance" during his tenure with the garrison.
Guevara's "dedication to duty, selfless service, and commitment contributed greatly to the garrison's success and positively impacted the Area I Soldiers, civilians and families of Camp Casey, Camp Hovey, and Dongducheon City," according to the citation.
Copeland was born in Portsmouth, Va., and entered the Army in 1996.
Copeland has deployed to Albania, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
His awards and decorations include, among others, the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Joint Service Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
Copeland holds a bachelor of science degree from Troy University, a bachelor of arts degree from Excelsior College, and a master of arts degree from University of Texas at El Paso. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Global Leadership.