By Steven StoverMarch 7, 2018
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Soldiers, Army Civilians, Family and friends said farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Cecil Reynolds, the outgoing senior enlisted Soldier and 'the keeper of the colors' for the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion (Vanguard), in a Change of Responsibility ceremony at McGill Training Center, March 7.
The 'keeper of the colors' is a position of honor and dates back to when Soldiers followed the cadence and instruction of the color guard, led by the color sergeant. In the heat of battle, the unit colors were always at the forefront of the formation. Today, the position of color sergeant is held by the senior most enlisted member of a command and they are known as 'the keeper of the colors.'
The more than 600 Soldiers and Civilians that comprise the 781st MI Battalion were represented at the ceremony by Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta companies, and the Cyber Solutions Development Detachment. According to the narrator, a large part of the battalion's Soldiers and Civilians could not take part in the ceremony as they were executing cyberspace operations in support of Army Cyber Command and the United States Cyber Command in the defense of our Nation.
The commander of troops for the ceremony was the NCOIC (noncommissioned officer-in-charge) of one of the battalion's cyber protection teams, Master Sgt. Cory MacNeil, and the host was the commander of the 781st MI Battalion, Lt. Col. Justin Considine.
In his comments, Lt. Col. Considine remarked that Reynolds, in his over two years as the Vanguard 7 (command sergeant major), was the embodiment of a Vanguard Soldier.
"You have protected this house…By knowing the shape of the Vanguard Soldiers and Civilians, by knowing their strengths, their heart, their attitude, their personalities, and their experiences," said Considine. "You have protected their health and welfare, encouraged their holistic resilience, and ultimately increased the readiness and combat power of these warfighters, and left us all a little better than you found us…and that is ultimately your legacy."
The Reynolds family next assignment is with the 1st Information Operations Command (Land), Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Command Sgt. Maj. Reynolds will assume the mantle as the 1st IO Command senior enlisted Soldier and their 'keeper of the colors' on April 2.
In his farewell remarks, Command Sgt. Maj. Reynolds talked about the battalion's accomplishments; however, he gave full credit to the Vanguard Soldiers and Civilians -- past and present.
"Just remember every day is an opportunity, and in our business; people are a pacing item (the most critical aspect of an organization)," said Reynolds.
The incoming command sergeant major, and new 'keeper of the colors', is Command Sgt. Major Jesse Potter, who comes to the battalion from his previous assignment as the 780th MI Brigade operations sergeant major.
Command Sgt. Maj. Potter enlisted in the army as a chemical operations specialist in Jan. 1994, later reclassified to electronic warfare in 2009, and cyber operations in 2015 -- the Army only recently approved the creation of a Cyber branch in September 2014.
"Successful succession is more than selecting someone with an appropriate skillset", said Considine. "It's about finding someone who is lock step with an organization's identity and purpose. That's why we call it succession and not replacement. There is continuity in vision. In the Vanguard, that vision is to be an elite cyberspace maneuver force, always out front…in the fight, using technology as a weapon system to defend the Nation. Sgt. Maj. Potter, we are excited to have you and your Family join the Vanguard team."
The history of the 781st MI Battalion is less than a decade old. It was on October 1, 2011, the 744th MI Battalion was re-designated as the 781st MI Battalion and re-organized under the 780th MI Brigade.