Army Sgt. Maj. Larry H. Orvis Jr. assumed duties June 10 as the Inspector General Sergeant Major in a virtual ceremony. Orvis succeeded Sgt. Maj. Christopher G. Gilpin, who will retire after 34 years of Army service.
“I am looking forward to being a part of a great and professional organization that enables and protects the culture and character of the Army,” Orvis said.
Orvis comes to the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency (USAIGA) after two years as the provost sergeant major. The self-described ‘Army brat’ joined the Army in 1994 as a military policeman and has served in numerous posts in his 26 years of service.
Before serving as the provost sergeant major, Orvis was the command sergeant major of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, as well as the garrison command sergeant major at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Orvis was sworn in as a temporary inspector general, pending completion of The Inspector General School basic course later this summer.
Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, The Inspector General, welcomed Orvis and cited his background as an asset to the agency.
“I think Sgt. Maj. Orvis’s operational and technical background will help take us to the next level. As the former top cop senior NCO, he brings the understanding of de-escalation, investigative tools, and a positive reputation to make the mission happen,” Smith said.
Gilpin plans to become a police officer in Texas after retiring from the Army.
A native of Jamaica, Gilpin enlisted in October 1986 and has served as an infantryman at all levels. Before coming to USAIGA, he served tours as the command sergeant major of the 3rd Infantry Division and later U.S. Army Africa.
“I planned on making the Army a career. I didn’t know before I enlisted that 20 years was considered a career and so I kept going,” he said.
Gilpin said his fondest memories of serving as the Inspector General Sergeant Major were when he accompanied Smith to the Pre-Command Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to address incoming battalion and brigade commanders and command sergeants major. “Teaching and training at that level—if they get it right, it will make the Army that much better,” he said.
Smith described Gilpin’s tenure as the right leadership for the agency at the right time.
“His professionalism and ability to talk with leaders at all levels helped him and the Army get after challenges and opportunities that helped us increase readiness across the board,” Smith said.
Maj. Gen. Donald E. Jackson, the deputy inspector general, lauded Gilpin’s career and dedication to Soldiers and the Army community. “The model of a quiet professional, Sgt. Maj. Chris Gilpin leaves a lasting impact on the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency, the IG community, and the entire U.S. Army,” Jackson said.
“A battle-tested hero, Sgt. Maj. Chris Gilpin mastered the soft skills needed to thrive at the departmental level, and had strategic vision allowing him to always see the big picture.”
Director of Army Inspections Laura Jankovich cited Gilpin’s dedication to career development for USAIGA NCOs.
“SGM Gilpin’s leadership had a distinct impact on the NCO Corps through two excellent programs he incorporated during his time as the IG sergeant major,” she said.
Gilpin instituted a quarterly NCO professional development program as well as a transfer program, enabling NCOs to transfer between divisions within USAIGA and broaden their expertise.
Nate Prezzy, the chief of the USAIGA Records Screening Oversight division, said during the ceremony, “Sergeant Major, we appreciate and respect and love you…you’re one of the finest sergeants major in the inventory.”
During the virtual ceremony, USAIGA Soldiers and employees added praise for Gilpin in a chat window. “Thank you SGM Gilpin for your service. Blessings to you and your family in your next endeavors!!” wrote Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Copeland of the USAIGA Operations division.
Gilpin reflected on his 34 years of service and how it shaped his American experience.
“I’m truly grateful for having served in the Army and having the opportunity to give back to a Nation that gave me an opportunity at a better life,” Gilpin said.
“It has been my honor and pleasure to have served alongside some of the nicest, most courageous, decent and patriotic Americans to have worn our Nation’s uniform. I only regret that some were lost along the way, but their memories will live on forever.”