By Karin J. MartinezMay 30, 2019
VICENZA, Italy (May 30, 2019) - United States Army Garrison Italy bade farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Mason L. Bryant and welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Billy S. Vetten in a May 29 change of responsibility ceremony at the physical fitness center on Caserma Ederle.
The change of responsibility ceremony honors both the departing command sergeant major and officially recognizes the incoming command sergeant major as the senior noncommissioned officer of the command.
Bryant, of Evansville, Indiana, leaves the position after more than two years in the Garrison, marking the second time he has served as part of a command team with Garrison Commander Col. Erik M. Berdy. In a gymnasium filled with leaders, employees, family members and friends, he thanked and publicly acknowledged many individuals in the various directorates who served during his tenure.
"This speech is not about me so much as it is about all the people in the Garrison who I thought deserved to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to mission success," Bryant said. If he had time, he added, "I would have liked to have pulled up the civilian strength report and read, line by line, the names of the personnel on it and give them praise."
Berdy acknowledged the command sergeant major's impact on the organization.
"[Bryant] has simultaneously pulled rear security, watched the flanks, and joined in the attack as we plowed forward with conviction for the betterment of our people and for mission accomplishment," said Berdy. "Mason, thank you for all you have done, and for your personal sacrifice in the process. You should be proud of what you have accomplished and the impact you have had on the Garrison and the installation, on the Soldiers, families, the greater community we serve and, selfishly, on me."
Bryant, who has served about 16 years in Italy, said his time at USAG Italy has been the "best and most challenging" experience here. He relinquished his position to Vetten, a native of Kissimmee, Florida, who comes to Vicenza from Fort Jackson, South Carolina. There, he served as battalion command sergeant major for 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, from July 2016 to February 2019. He is a veteran "Sky Soldier," having previously served here with 1st Bn., 503rd Inf. Rgt., 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Bryant wished Vetten well as he takes on this new position in the Garrison.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Vetten is no stranger to Italy and will improve on the things that the Garrison is operating on now," said Bryant. "He will provide solid leadership and support to the community. ... Command Sgt. Maj. Vetten, I wish you and your family all the best."
In addition to Fort Jackson and Vicenza, Vetten has been assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Benning and Dahlonega, Georgia; and Fort Bliss, Texas. He has also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The incoming command sergeant major said he welcomes the opportunity to serve here in this capacity.
"Thank you to all of the civilians who make Vicenza great," he said. "I am excited to work alongside each of you as we continue to support the tenant units and this great community."
Bryant leaves USAG Italy for U.S. Army Africa, where he will serve his final year in the Army before retirement. Vetten is in Italy with his wife Tonya, and their two children, Hailey and Jacob.