Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Ulibarri assumed responsibility as Fort Benning's senior NCO Friday in a ceremony in front of Infantry Hall. Ulibarri, who won the Best Ranger competition in the 80s, recently returned from a deployment to Iraq with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

This is not his first assignment to Fort Benning - he was a Ranger instructor with the 4th Ranger Training Battalion from 1987 to 89.

Ulibarri is taking the position Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Greenway has been filling since Command Sgt. Maj. Lonnie Wright deployed. Greenway will retire this summer.

"The position of command sergeant major is probably our most important position," said Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Fort Benning's commanding general.

The command sergeant major inspires his peers and represents the largest branch of the Army - the Infantry, said Wojdakowski, who noted that Ulibarri takes the position during a time of war.

The responsibility of being the command sergeant major of Fort Benning is great because of the importance of training the Soldiers and leaders who will fight the war, Wojdakowski said.

"There is no greater responsibility than the mission of our NCOs in leading Soldiers," especially Soldiers in the Infantry, he said, but Ulibarri is up to this task.

In his last assignment, Ulibarri assisted with the transition to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The 172nd SBCT was recently redesignated as the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Ulibarri deployed with the 172nd SBCT, which spent 16 months in Mosul and Baghdad and was awarded the Valorous Unit Award.

Ulibarri said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve as the top NCO at Fort Benning. There's "an Infantryman in all Soldiers, all MOSs," he said.

Ulibarri told the story of a small female Soldier who lifted male Soldiers, who were trained as Infantrymen, out of a damaged Stryker in Iraq.

Ulibarri is accompanied by his wife, Sue, and their children, Leeya, 11, Julee, 10, and Ben, 9.

Ulibarri entered active enlisted service in 1982, and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Lewis, Wash., after basic training and Airborne School.

He served as a rifleman, rifle team leader, rifle squad leader, weapons squad leader and weapons platoon sergeant with the 2nd Battalion. He deployed on Operation Urgent Fury and won the Best Ranger competition while with the unit.

After serving as a Ranger instructor with the 4th Ranger Training Battalion at Fort Benning, he returned to the 75th Ranger Regiment in 1989 and served as a reconnaissance team leader for Team 1, Ranger Reconnaissance Detachment.

Ulibarri, who deployed on Operation Just Cause with the RRD, spent time at Forts Bliss and Hood, Texas, before returning to Fort Lewis, Wash., where he held several positions before becoming the command sergeant major of the 172nd SIB.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal and the Legion of Merit. Ulibarri's military schools include USMC Scout Swimmer, Static Line Jumpmaster, Combat Diver, Military Freefall, Military Freefall Jumpmaster, First Sergeants Course and all NCOES up to the Sergeant Major Academy.