By Jacqueline BoucherOctober 31, 2018
Shortly after arriving at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Sergeant Maj. Eric Cherry realized his new job was going to be a high point in his long military career.
Team Tobyhanna welcomed the combat veteran as their senior enlisted advisor during a ceremony attended by family members, employees and distinguished visitors. Cherry joins the ranks of an elite group of Army Soldiers who were also handpicked to serve as the depot's sergeant major.
As sergeant major, his responsibilities include overseeing mission requirements and quality of life issues on the depot and in the local community. Cherry advises the commander on all matters relating to Soldiers, the civilian workforce and their family members. In addition, he serves as the voice of the warfighters who use depot-repaired equipment once it arrives on the battlefield.
Cherry said his first impression of the depot and its workforce exceeded anything he could have imagined. He remembers doing business with the depot early in his career, performing one-on-one exchanges of military equipment.
"I've worked with civilians before, but not to this scale," he said. "It's refreshing to see the military through their eyes. People visiting Tobyhanna can really see how much everyone cares about the work they do to support the warfighter."
Cherry admits when he joined the Army in 1993, he had no idea what to expect, which was fine with him. It was his desire to take the road less travelled that propelled him toward military service while still in high school.
The Army has offered opportunities for travel and training throughout Cherry's career. He attended basic training at Fort Lenard Wood, Missouri, and Advanced Individual Training as a special electronic device repairer at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He is certified as a senior electronic maintenance supervisor. His education includes a master's degree in business management.
"I have been to so many places and met so many people," Cherry said, noting that he has been assigned to installations in the states and overseas. "The Army was the right fit for me right from the start."
Cherry has served in staff and leadership positions at a number of Army installations around the world --Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Mannheim, Germany; Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and Camp Zama, Japan. His combat skills were put to the test when he participated in Operation Iraq Freedom three times and later Operation New Dawn.
And the adventure is far from over, according to Cherry, noting that after being assigned to locations in warmer climates for nine years, the Army decided to move him to Northeast Pennsylvania. He said he's looking forward to reacquainting himself with winter activities he enjoyed as a boy growing up in Delaware.
"In the short time I've been here, I see Tobyhanna sets the standard," Cherry said. "I want to learn all I can so when someone asks me about the depot, I'm armed with as much information as possible."
Cherry is resolute in his determination to spread the word about what he considers the Army's best kept secret.
"The organization and the people are great," Cherry said. "Everyone here does a fantastic job supporting the warfighter and the world needs to know it."