FORT KNOX, Ky. -- The 1st Theater Sustainment Command welcomed a new command sergeant major during a change of responsibility ceremony here July 28.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Perry III assumed responsibility as the senior enlisted leader of the command from Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard P. Smalls Sr., who served as the command sergeant major for almost two years.
The ceremony was presided by Maj. Gen. John P. Sullivan, commanding general, 1st TSC, who emphasized the significance of this transition.
“This transition comes at a pivotal and challenging time for our Army and our First Team,” Sullivan said. “The current operational environment in the CENTCOM AOR is always replete with challenges, and of course, now the COVID challenge is one that we are collectively dealing with together. It’s a tough environment. It will continue to be difficult and it demands leaders who possess the agility to adapt to changing circumstances.”
The 1st TSC provides operational logistics support to the U.S. Central Command. With a main command post located at Fort Knox and an operational command post located at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, its nearly 10,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel serve in over 20 countries, spanning five time zones and four named operations.
“Being a command sergeant major at any echelon is extremely hard work and being command sergeant major of the 1st TSC, I would submit, is among the most challenging two-star command sergeant major positions in our Army,” Sullivan said.
He went on to detail one of the challenges as the distributed nature of the command with units spread throughout the Middle East. That getting to each of those locations to provide leadership “at the point of impact” was a full-time job.
“For almost two years now, Command Sgt. Maj. Smalls has fully embraced that challenge and has absolutely excelled at it,” Sullivan said. “Despite the challenges, he provided, every day, engaged leadership, direction, vision and maintained the pulse of our unit for two TSC commanders… I can proudly say that [Command] Sgt. Maj. Smalls has been the foundation for the 1st TSC by providing outstanding NCO leadership and being a leader for all to emulate.”
Smalls thanked Sullivan and a long list of others who made his time at the 1st TSC a success. The passion that Smalls has for the organization could be felt as he delivered his final remarks.
“This TSC is like no other TSC in our Army inventory,” Smalls said. “This ‘First Team’ is a game changer in the CENTCOM AOR and I’m extremely proud of all of them. It has been an absolute pleasure to serve with the premier, and I say again, the premier 1st TSC. Where you can find some of the finest officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, Soldiers, Joint Partners, civilians, contractors who are operating at the tip of the spear and learning their craft.”
Sullivan stressed that it was difficult to say goodbye to a person of Smalls’ caliber but was confident in the legacy he left with the organization and that Perry was the right person to fill the position.
“It was easy to see, as I was interviewing the candidates to be the 1st TSC command sergeant major, why he is held in such high regard by so many leaders throughout our Army.” Sullivan said. “He is absolutely the right leader at the right time to assume duties as our command sergeant major… Suffice it to say, he brings with him incredible experience, incredible leadership ability and we are all looking forward to benefiting from that.”
Perry joins the First Team after serving as the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, he joined the Army in 1992 following a family legacy of military service. Since 2003, he has deployed six times to the CENTCOM area of responsibility, the most recent of which he served as the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve sustainment sergeant major.
Smalls echoed Sullivan’s confidence in Perry’s abilities.
“I couldn’t think of any other command sergeant major that is more prepared, dialed in and ready to hit the ground running than Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Perry,” Smalls said.
During a set of short remarks, Perry thanked Sullivan for the opportunity to serve and Smalls for the leadership and guidance he provided over the years. He stated that it was clear how special the 1st TSC is with its long and storied history and that he is looking forward to serving with the ‘First Team.’
“I am truly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve with and for you in this great organization,” Perry said.