VICKSBURG, Miss., -- The 412th Theater Engineer Command (TEC) bid farewell to its senior enlisted adviser and welcomed his predecessor in a Change of Responsibility and Retirement Ceremony at the George A. Morris U.S. Army Reserve Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, June 10, 2017.
Command Sgt. Maj. Richard E. Castelveter retired after more than 35 years of honorable service. Assuming his duties and responsibilities is Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis E. Law of the 3rd Brigade, 75th Southern Training Division.
Brig. Gen. Daniel J. Christian, the TEC's acting commanding general and host, acknowledged Castelveter's career. "It's no small task for a private at one point in the 82nd Airborne to now rise to the position of command sergeant major of the 412th Theater Engineer Command," said Christian.
Castelveter has held the responsibility for almost three years. He began his Active Army career with the 82nd Airborne Division in 1982. His overseas assignments with the Division included Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in 1983.
Christian told the audience that Castelveter shared with him how he was always impressed with the engineers and how they accomplished their missions.
"He thought to himself, you know I really want to be an engineer someday and I am sure at that point in his career, he never thought he would be where he is," said Christian. "I think it is very telling that he culminates his career in ultimately an assignment at one point he never thought he was going to be at which is in the 412th."
Christian said that everyone would agree that Castelveter has made a "tremendous impact in on who we are as an organization, who we are as an institution and what we do."
He also pointed out that Castelveter spent most of his tour visiting down trace units under the direction of the TEC's former commander, Maj. Gen. Tracy Thompson, and ensuring that the Soldiers knew their missions all the while looking out for their morale and welfare.
Christian thanked Castelveter and said, "I know that it is deeply important to you."
Christian said Castelveter also shared with him that his awards are not just his. Castelveter told him his success as a noncommissioned officer and at the Command was because of a team effort.
He firmly believes that the team is what gets it all done at the end of day, said Christian.
Christian also spoke of Law and their conversation earlier.
Christian said he told Law, "One thing and one thing only and that is, too much is given, and much is expected."
Christian informed the audience that the Command has more than 13,000 Soldiers in more than 28 states in 50 facilities serving across the United States and overseas. Other units are either being mobilized to go overseas or in the process of being mobilized.
"That is a lot to do," Christian told Law. "That is a big rucksack that you are carrying and those are big shoes that you are going to follow."
Christian noted that Law is "definitely the guy" to assume this responsibility.
Christian added that Law has also served in the Active Army and Army National Guard. "He understands the Total Force structure and what it takes for this engineer command to get to the next level," said Christian.
Castelveter followed Christian and opted not to speak at the podium. Instead he walked among the Soldiers standing at ease in formation.
He told the audience that everyone should be honest with themselves. "Every day when I look in the mirror, at the end of the day, I evaluate myself to ask the question 'have I done everything I could for my rank and my responsibility taking care of my Soldiers, my Family?'" said Castelveter.
When Law stepped to the podium, he said that he was honored to accept the title. He noted he did not say replace Castelveter.
"It is not possible to replace Command Sgt. Maj. Castelveter," said Law.
He added that the best compliment you can give to another Soldier is job well done.
"Job well done, very well done, every which way," said Law as he looked at Castelveter.
Law continued by saying he was impressed that he was allowed to join "the realm of the combat engineers."
He noted that in World War II, "We clear the way" was the combat engineer motto.
"Any organization that is focused on clearing or placing mines, using demolitions, clearing routes and doing all that while under fire has to be the place to be," said Law, whose father was a U.S. Navy Seabee during the Vietnam War. "This is very Hooah and I am excited to be here. Sir, I will not fail you."
Law told the TEC Soldiers, "Let mission readiness be our focus. We are Soldiers who are part of the greatest Army of the greatest Nation in the world. Let's continue to make it so."
Castelveter will be a U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador for the 99th Regional Support Command at Joint Base-McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
"It's just strange," replied Castelveter when asked about wearing his uniform for the final time.
"You wear this uniform for 35 years especially at this capacity and then it's over," he added. "Where did all those years go?
"It is like being in a family for such a long, long time and then you have to go away to another part of the world," continued Castelveter.