FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) welcomed its 15th Command Sergeant Major during a Change of Responsibility Ceremony at the Nolan Building, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Sep. 19.

During the ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Ballard, INSCOM commanding general, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric M. Schmitz assumed the position as the command's senior noncommissioned officer from Command Sgt. Maj. Dayron I. Vargas.

Ballard addressed the audience during the ceremony and welcomed Schmitz to the INSCOM family with words of encouragement and optimism.

"We are genuinely excited for you to be joining our ranks and we look forward to working with you to forge INSCOM's future," said Ballard. "Command Sergeant Major Schmitz has led at every level and has solidified a stellar reputation as a multi-functional intelligence operator, a disciplined leader who lives the Army values and standards. He is a Soldiers' Soldier. I know he will serve INSCOM well as its most senior noncommissioned officer."

Schmitz returns to INSCOM after serving as G-2 Sergeant Major for U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Schmitz previously held various leadership positions at INSCOM companies and battalions within the 501st MI Brigade, 66th MI Brigade and the 513th MI Brigade.

"I'm truly humbled to stand here today. My first aspirations as a private was to become a staff sergeant, a drill sergeant and a paratrooper. The selection as the 15th command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command is beyond all expectations," said Schmitz. "Thank you Major General Ballard for giving me the opportunity and trusting me with this position. I take this role seriously and will fulfill the responsibilities inherited."

Ballard also expressed his appreciation for Vargas' many contributions to the command by caring for its people, both Soldiers and civilians.

"You're leaving INSCOM in some ways better than when you found it," Ballard said. "We are grateful for your love of Soldiers, your passion for the game, and your easy way of helping those around you see clearly to the heart of the problem and the most common sense means to solve it. If the Army has a 12th Man…you are it."

Vargas, who is retiring after 32 years of service, was gracious in his remarks.

"Over the last two years, it has been my absolute honor leading INSCOM's Soldiers and civilians. The efforts of the men and women across the entirety of the command have made a mark on the evolution of intelligence for our Army and our Nation," said Vargas. "It has been an absolute honor to serve alongside you and I could not have been more blessed to culminate my 32 years of service as your command sergeant major."