Following two-and-a-half years and a combat deployment to Iraq, Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph C. Cornelison, 1st Infantry Division senior noncommissioned officer, was honored during a change of responsibility ceremony March 21 in front of the 1st Inf. Div. headquarters building on Fort Riley, Kansas.
"Coming here to the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley… is a like a dream come true," Cornelison said. "I have been an infantryman my entire career, and to end up as the command sergeant major of the storied 1st Inf. Div.… I had to pinch myself every day when I woke up just to see if I was dreaming or not."
Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, commented on Cornelison's professionalism and personal advice during their time serving together in Iraq and at Fort Riley.
"Sgt. Maj. Cornelison has been able to spread his influence far and wide throughout the Army," Martin said, "from the Ranger regiment to light and heavy units, from Hawaii to Germany, from Iraq to Afghanistan and everywhere in between.
"I can attest to this from my experience, and I am truly a better officer for having served with him as my teammate. We have had dark moments and he has been there to help me through those."
As Cornelison departs the 1st Inf. Div. he can look upon his sleeve to remember his time as a "Big Red One" Soldier.
"Being able to deploy to combat with this division, it was an honor and privilege," he said. "I am happy that I got a combat patch on my right shoulder that will be with me throughout my career to help me to remember the times I have had here with these Soldiers."
As Cornelison departs the historic division, Command. Sgt. Maj. Craig A. Bishop now takes on the responsibility as the senior noncommissioned officer of the division.
"It is absolutely humbling and truly an honor," Bishop said. "What a lineage. Obviously the oldest division in the Army's inventory. It is a very unique, but humbling, experience."
Bishop comes to the 1st Inf. Div. from the 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia.