By Staff Sgt. Sierra A. MelendezDecember 15, 2017
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 3rd Infantry Division Artillery welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Robert T. Craven as the incoming command sergeant major during an assumption of responsibility ceremony at Marne Gardens, Dec. 15.
Hailing from a small parish in the Bayou State of Louisiana, Craven said his life would have taken a much different path had it not been for enlisting in the United States Army over 22 years ago.
Spoken like a true artilleryman, Craven used an artillery analogy to reflect on his upbringing and eventual decision to speak to a recruiter.
"Growing up in a small town in the rural south with not much to do, I was on the wrong azimuth of fire in my youth growing up and shooting toward a dangerous direction," said Craven. "The military seemed like it would be the right place for me to go - and 22 years later, I've never looked back. I don't regret a day of it and would absolutely do it again."
Craven reminisced on the then Army slogan of 'Be All You Can Be'.
"I still love that motto because the Army allowed myself to be so much more than I ever imagined I would be," Craven said. "And I think there's a lot of young men and women who wear this uniform today that raised their right hand for the same reason."
Loyal to the Field Artillery career field, Craven originally joined as an 82C Field Artillery Surveyor, now a 13S, and later reclassed to a 13P Multiple Launch Rocket System Operations/Fire Direction Specialist.
Craven is no stranger to the XVIII Airborne Corps or the 3rd ID. His previous assignment was the fires/CJTF sergeant major for the corps, including a deployment to Iraq in that position.
During his time as a battalion command sergeant major, he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia while assigned to the now deactivated 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. Craven boasted on the "Sledgehammer Brigade" earning the title of Marne Week champs the last year they were active.
He expressed his excitement for his return to the Marne Division and for the opportunity to serve in this rewarding position. Coming from a staff position, moreover, he is excited to be around artillery Soldiers again.
"I grew up in DIVARTYs," said Craven. "What red leg - because that's what we call ourselves - would have ever thought that they would become a DIVARTY command sergeant major? So of course I'm excited."
To some, DIVARTYS may seem like a new concept. However, they took an almost 10-year hiatus when brigade combat teams transitioned to a modular force structure and field artillery battalions became organic to BCTs.
With the Army's 2020 initiative, DIVARTYs returned in order to meet the demands of warfighting formations. Craven stressed the importance of occupational specialty integrity, and the benefits of field artillery leaders overseeing field artillery Soldiers, training and mission executions.
"I think this an exciting time for the DIVARTY," said Craven. "Most people don't even understand what it is that we do or what we are for because there was a 10-year gap that we were gone. That's a whole lot of knowledge, expertise, legacy and lineage that was gone."
Craven believes that one of his roles as the CSM is to aid in the return of true identity and pride of the field artillery corps and to provide purpose and motivation to young artillerymen and women.
"I want everyone to know what makes our craft so special," said Craven. "Not only that, but what makes us such an essential and integral piece of the maneuver puzzle. We bring subject matter expertise; we bring training readiness and oversight and we bring validity to essential field artillery tasks."
The commander of DIVARTY, Col. Robert W. Marshall, expressed his eagerness and enthusiasm for having Craven be a part of his team during a speech at the ceremony.
"In just our brief interactions, I have seen his fire and commitment to improve Soldiers," Marshall said. "In this time, I have realized few Soldiers I have met wear the mantle of leadership with more authority and a greater sense of responsibility than Command Sergeant Major Craven."
The Marne Division also welcomed Craven's family - his wife Belle Craven and children Jacob (22), Joshua (19), and Maci (9).