ADELPHI, Md. -- The U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory bid farewell to its senior enlisted advisor in a unique retirement ceremony at the Adelphi Laboratory Center auditorium Sept. 4. Guests wore face masks and practiced social distancing to protect against COVID-19.As the lab’s sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Jeffery (David) Snipes provided advice and counsel to the civilian leadership of the laboratory as well as its scientists and engineers since he became the senior enlisted advisor in August 2018.“Being sergeant major means different things to different folks,” Snipes said. “For myself, I think it means influencing change; having the opportunity to make a difference and being at the level where you come in with an instant credibility, but you have to maintain that credibility. You have to let the workforce know you are part of their family.”The Army awarded Snipes the Legion of Merit for his 28 years of service. He also received a letter of congratulations from the president of the United States.The sergeant major had extensive experience in special operations and satellite communications. He came to the laboratory from a joint assignment at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.Snipes said it was his goal to raise awareness across the Army about what its scientists and engineers are doing.View photos from the ceremonyA South Carolina native, Snipes joined the Army in 1992. He initially served in the 44th Engineer Battalion at Camp Howze, Republic of Korea as a radio operator. Follow-on assignments included: the 52nd Ordinance Group at Fort Gillem, Georgia; the 447th Signal Battalion Fort Gordon, Georgia; Quick Reaction Force Joint Communications Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida; the 112th Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the 112th Signal Detachment Camp Smith, Hawaii; a return to the 112th Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg to serve as first sergeant; Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command (also at Fort Bragg); the Defense Information Systems Agency in Arlington, Virginia, and Fort Meade, Maryland; the160th Signal Brigade at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; and Army Element senior enlisted advisor and Special Operations Forces liaison at Ford Island, Hawaii.Snipes is a graduate of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, and served as the commandant of the Joint Communications Academy at MacDill Air Force Base.He most recently served as the senior enlisted leader for the Communications Squadron, Joint Communication Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base. He holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts with a concentration in psychology.During his career, the sergeant major completed multiple real-world operations across the globe, to include Bosnia, Qatar, Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan and several locations in Africa and Middle East.The laboratory welcomed Snipes’ replacement, Sgt. Maj. Luke Blum, who assumed responsibility as senior enlisted advisor last month. Blum comes to the lab from the Communications Squadron, Joint Communication Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base.Blum entered the Army in 2000 as a Satellite Communications Operator/Maintainer. He is married with four children.CCDC Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win the nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.