By Ray Johnson, IMCOM-Europe Public Affairs OfficerFebruary 21, 2019
SEMBACH, Germany -- Installation Management Command-Europe welcomed its new command sergeant major and bid farewell to her predecessor during a change-of-responsibility ceremony held here Feb. 21.
Command Sgt. Maj. Samara Pitre took over for Command Sgt. Maj. Ulysses Rayford, who will become the Sergeant Major for the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.
Pitre is "an enterprise leader with a rich appreciation of our Army … she is a senior noncommissioned officer in every sense of the title," said Michael Formica, director of IMCOM Europe.
While serving as the U.S. Army Garrison BENELUX commander sergeant major, her previous assignment, "she brought an attitude of optimism, genuine concern and dogged determination to delivery services to all service members, civilians and family members," Formica added.
Over a 28-year career, Pitre has served with organizations such as NATO, U.S. European Command, U.S. Cyber Command and U.S. Army Africa, along with a combat deployment to Iraq.
Pitre said she was excited to support "our military and civilian Army Professionals at a whole new level."
"I am the one who worries about the quality of life, training and personnel management," she added. "But I'm also the adviser, the sounding board and the confidante."
Pitre also thanked Rayford for 16 months of friendship and guidance.
Rayford joined the IMCOM-Europe team in June 2016 after serving as the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz command sergeant major.
Formica labeled Rayford as a "Soldier's Soldier, who delivered the right level of leadership at the right time," applauding him for many accomplishments, including:
*Spearheading an Army Professional of the Quarter and Army Professional of the Year Program;
*Staunchly defending garrison and IMCOM-Europe personal authorizations to ensure the highest levels of community support;
*And never missing an opportunity to mentor Soldiers on readiness, professional development, leadership and ethics.
"For us to succeed and to play our role to its fullest," Formica said, "I leaned heavily on Command Sergeant Major Rayford."
As he closed out the ceremony with his remarks, Rayford said he challenged anyone to find a better group of senior NCOs than those standing in front of him, referring to IMCOM-Europe's seven garrison command sergeants major.
"Crossing paths with them has made me not only a better Soldier, but a better man," he said.
"It has been a pleasure serving with each and every member of IMCOM-Europe," Rayford concluded. "I am at awe at how you take care of people. Thank you for being there when you are needed the most."