FORT RUCKER, Ala. - Members of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. William L. Gardner and celebrated the leadership of Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest D. Bowen Jr. in a change of responsibility ceremony June 25 at the United States Army Aviation Museum.

Bowen passed the organization's colors to Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Daugherty, commanding general, USACRC and director of Army Safety, who then passed them to Gardner, symbolizing transfer of the accomplishments and welfare of USACRC Soldiers and family members from one command sergeant major to another.

Daugherty welcomed Gardner as the Army's seventh top enlisted adviser on safety and occupational health issues.

"I've admired Command Sgt. Maj. Gardner for a while now. I've noticed his candor, I've noticed his effort level and I've noticed how he doesn't feel compelled to pile on bravado when he makes a point," Daugherty said. "He is the calm and collected leader we need at the Combat Readiness Center to continue our work. I am so proud to have you and your family on board and grateful to have a Soldier of your caliber joining our team."

Gardner enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1983 and attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Since then, he has served in numerous key leadership positions and most recently served as command sergeant major for the 7th Army Training Command, Grafenwoehr, Germany.

"Julie and I are honored to have the opportunity to serve the Army, but we are really excited to get that opportunity here and to call Fort Rucker home," Gardner said. "I can't remember a better welcome from anywhere we have served during our time in the Army. It absolutely made us feel like we belong here."

While at the podium, Daugherty also commended Bowen for his time and efforts while assigned to the USACRC.

"We have had a couple of farewell events, but the one thing I have not done is personally thank you," Daugherty said. "Thanks for being a terrific sounding board. Thanks for keeping your ear to the ground so we can understand the team members, their concerns and issues. Thanks for working tirelessly to see past the raw numbers and look for ways to inform the field of how they can prevent loss. Finally, thanks, Command Sgt. Maj. Bowen, for having such an honorable, purposeful career."

Bowen, who has served with the USACRC since April 2017, is retiring after nearly 33 years of military service. He said he plans to join his family in Ohio.

For more information on the USACRC, or to view Command Sgt. Maj. Gardner's complete biography, visit https://safety.army.mil/HOME/Leadership#cbp=mediaid12787.