FORT SILL, Okla. (June 7, 2018) -- The authority of the 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade command sergeant major was passed at a change of responsibility ceremony June 4, at Snow Hall's Kerwin Auditorium.

Command Sgt. Maj. Randy Gray, who was most recently the CSM for 2nd Battalion, 44th ADA at Fort Campbell, Ky., took the reins from Command Sgt. Maj. John Young, who retired with 29 years of service. Dozens of service members, post leaders, families, and friends attended the morning ceremony.

The 30th ADA Brigade's staff of service members, Department of Army civilians, and contractors train enlisted service men and women, NCOs, warrant officers, officers, and international students in all aspects of ADA. The brigade is known as the Heart of the ADA Branch.

Ceremony host Col. David Baxter, 30th ADA Brigade commander, welcomed Gray, and thanked Young and recounted his accomplishments.

He began by quoting a passage from Maj. Gen. John Schofield's speech to the U.S. Military Academy Corps of Cadets in 1879: "The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself."

"I offer that the words ring true today, and are reflective of both of the command sergeants major presented to you today," Baxter said. "The very soul of the brigade resides in its NCO Corps led by the command sergeant major."

Young not only ensured excellence in everyday operations, but he also saw to the future stance of the brigade, and the ADA branch, Baxter said. "Battle (Young), you've exceeded all expectations and left the brigade better than you started -- a truly stellar way to end a 29-year career.

"It's been an honor to serve side by side with you," the colonel said. "It's even more so to call you my friend. Job well done."

Baxter said Young rose so far in the Army because of the support of people.

"You did not make this journey alone. The love and support of your family made every step with you," Baxter said. "The deployments; the field problems; the late hours; the early mornings; missed births, birthdays, anniversaries.

"We strive to make our Soldiers resilient, but our families are truly the resilient ones," Baxter continued. "Spouses raise a family, keep a house, work, and they support their Soldiers.

"Children change schools, leave friends, but somehow, some way, find time to keep up grades, and not look too disappointed when their Soldier cannot be at that award ceremony, or at that birthday, or any other critical event."

Gray comes to the brigade with a wide range of skills from the operating, and generating of forces, Baxter said.

"I have true faith in his ability to take the brigade to the next level," he said. "Command Sergeant Major Gray welcome, you and your family, to the best brigade in the branch. I can assure you that your actions and efforts over the next few years will have a lasting impact on our Army and our branch."

Command Sgt. Maj. Gray
Gray commended Young and his family on a very successful Army career. He said he was humbled by the opportunity to lead in the historic and prestigious 30th ADA Brigade.

"You don't get the opportunity to lead without the help, hard work, and mentorship of others," Gray said. "To the Soldiers of this brigade: You are the youth and vigor who will become the future of this Army and this branch.

"To the noncommissioned officers, warrant officers, and officers: We are the ones who will shape our Soldiers into our future leaders," he said. "And to the extremely professional civilian workforce -- you have filled those gaps in coverage and continuity which helps round this team out."

Gray acknowledged his children, two of whom were in attendance, because they keep him grounded, and make all of this work, he said.

"Randi and Earl, I love you," Gray said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Young

Young thanked his daughters; his wife, and his mother Keitha Stubbs -- who made the drive from Leesburg, Ga.

It was 29 years ago that he was waving to his mother from a Greyhound bus window in Albany, Ga., as he left for the Army, he said. He told his wife Sandra of 25 years: "Tomorrow is going to be a new start, a new chapter in our lives, as the first year out of the Army."

Young said there were too many Soldiers, leaders and mentors to mention by name who that helped him during his career. However, he did note the staff, and individuals from the 30th ADA Brigade including Command Sgt. Maj. Finis Dodson, ADA School CSM; and Baxter.

To Dodson he said, "You've been a great mentor, and I'll definitely stay in contact."

To the brigade staff, including its civilians: "Even though you were and still are under-resourced, you continue to knock targets down daily. Thank you for all your hard work and efforts in making this brigade as successful as it is."

To all the battalion, and battery command teams: "You are the reason why my tenure as the brigade CSM was so successful. Day-in and day-out, your teams made the impossible, possible."

To Baxter, "Sir, I couldn't have gotten paired up with a better commander. I could go on-and-on about the past two years but I can some it up in two words, exceptional leader. You supported my decisions and my actions. I will always consider you a true friend."

Young continued and reflected back on his beginnings in the Army.

It was June 27, 1989, at Fort Sill, when two drill sergeants took a country boy from Georgia, and "broke him down like an M16, and made him earn the privilege of being called a Soldier," Young said. "I remember it like it was almost yesterday."

Young said he would do all over again, and that he embraced every emotion over the years.
"I wouldn't change any of the struggles, any of the lows, any of the highs," he said.

"My first squad leader back in the Airborne infantry Sergeant George Wilke told me that you will only get out of the Army what you put into it," Young said. "He was right."

Concluding, Young said he had only one regret.

"My only regret is that I only get one shot at serving this country as a Soldier."