By Don HerrickDecember 20, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla., Dec. 20, 2018 -- The Air Defense Artillery (ADA) School conducted a change of responsibility ceremony Dec. 12, here between Command Sgts. Maj. Finis Dodson and Stephen Burnley.
The ceremony was held in Snow Hall's ADA Heritage Room, which contains ADA memorabilia and photos dating back to the creation of the anti-aircraft artillery in World War I. Surrounded by ADA history and photos of legends of the branch; the room was a fitting backdrop for the ceremony.
Dodson, a native of Olive Branch, Miss., has served as the ADA School command sergeant major for two years. He prepares to assume responsibility as the command sergeant major for Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command.
Burnley is a native of Alexandria, Va., and is arriving at the ADA School from his previous duty assignments as the CSM of the 32nd Air and Missile Defense Command. He is accompanied by his wife, Victoria, and their two daughters.
Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, ADA commandant, recalled personal stories of the times he served with Dodson in the past. Both are natives of Mississippi, and Gibson credited Dodson with staying in touch with Soldiers, units, and key influencers of the branch.
"The NCO creed says no one is more professional than I and I cannot think of a better example than Command Sgt. Maj. Dodson," he said.
Gibson spoke of how Burnley's background, steeped in experience from ADA warfighting divisions was crucial today, as air defense is re-growing it's short-range air defense (SHORAD) units.
"I couldn't think of a better person than you (to replace Dodson)," he said.
Dodson commented on the vast amount of change the branch has seen in the last 30 months, from the branch's personnel manning challenges to the refocus on developing SHORAD units. He credited all of his success to the hard-working people of the branch. Dodson reached into his pocket; he placed a government cell phone and an ADA key ring with his office keys on the podium.
With laughter from the audience, Dodson said, "No change of responsibility ceremony is complete without the exchange of these."
He wished Burnley the best of luck and said, "Steve is the right person for the job at the right time."
"As our Army continues to adapt to the environment and threat, (ADA Soldiers) are the best weapons system on the battlefield," said Burnley. "I look forward to serving our Soldiers and their families."