NATICK, Mass. (Jan. 6, 2017) -- In a change of responsibility ceremony Jan. 6, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Pintagro took over as U.S. Army Garrison Natick command sergeant major.

Pintagro replaced Command Sgt. Maj. Erika M. Gholar during the ceremony in Hunter Auditorium. Gholar will retire in 2017 after 31 years in the Army. Pintagro comes to Natick from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where he was Public Affairs sergeant major for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

"Today is a great day that represents the best of traditions in the Army -- the link between the past and present, and the unique juxtaposition of change and continuity," said Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond, USAG Natick garrison commander. "Through it all, we remain one team committed to Soldier success."

Raymond said that Gholar had been instrumental in achieving the senior commander's vision of Team Natick, on and off the installation, over the past two years.

"Many of you have witnessed the fierce tenacity with which she approached Soldier well-being," Raymond said. "She's a kind but strong leader. She mentored all the NCOs on the installation regardless of background, regardless of unit, MOS, grade. And she put civilian mentorship and development and standards and performance at that same level."

According to Raymond, improving quality of life at Natick was a Gholar priority.

"She listened to anyone and everyone," Raymond said. "She was there for every member of our team.

"However, her influence and commitment to the Army extended much further. If you want to see Command Sergeant Major Gholar in her element, you need to see her when she's representing the installation to the outside community."

Gholar thanked Raymond for his kind words but then chose to shift the spotlight to the numerous Natick employees who quietly keep the installation running successfully.

"They are the people that work behind the scenes, day in and day out, and sometimes I think we don't thank them enough," Gholar said. "They are truly the people who make the scientists, the technicians and the leadership that are sitting in this room really shine on the brighter stage.

"NSSC, I love you. I appreciate you. You hold a very dear, special place in my heart. Germany was my first assignment. You're my last assignment. I want you to know this: When I leave, I will take you with me."

Raymond welcomed Pintagro, who arrives at Natick with more than two decades of Army leadership experience.

"As always, the Army has provided us another superior leader to fill the critical role of command sergeant major," Raymond said. "Command Sergeant Major Mike Pintagro and his family join us from Germany. They are … ready to continue their practice of supporting Soldiers in the public light.

"As a Public Affairs sergeant major, he is accustomed to telling the Army's story. Being from Alabama, Mike, you may find that Natick seems to be more like a foreign country than you know -- but you'll quickly come to love it just like you did Europe."

Pintagro said he would work "diligently" on his Boston accent.

"I'm delighted to be here and immensely grateful for the highly underrated Yankee hospitality, as well as the terrific opportunity," Pintagro said. "I look forward to serving with this dynamite team, sharing in its bright future, and helping to deliver the finest support to our Soldiers and civilians."