FORT SILL, Okla., Oct. 15, 2020 -- The 428th Field Artillery Brigade welcomed a new command sergeant major who had previously been with the 434th FA Brigade here, and said good-bye to its outgoing CSM who retired with almost 30 years of service.Incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Jon-Paul Zappala took responsibility as the senior enlisted Soldier from outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Gerry German during a change of responsibility ceremony Oct. 8, on the Old Post Quadrangle.Zappala was most recently at Fort Irwin, California, with the National Training Center’s Operations Group where he was the Field Artillery CSM observer/controller/trainer.“I love being back here,” said Zappala, who was here in 2018, as 1st Battalion, 19th FA’s CSM. “I love Fort Sill, I love the relation the city of Lawton has with the installation. This is a great place to live and work.”Before the change of responsibility ceremony, German was recognized with the Legion of Merit during an award ceremony in front of dozens of post leaders, fellow Soldiers, civilian co-workers, and friends. Col. Cornelius Morgan, 428th FA Brigade commander, made the presentation and was the officiating officer for the change of responsibility.Morgan said he wanted to convey two observations.“Number one, Command Sgt. Maj. German is the epitome of a leader,” the colonel said. He noted he had worked with German less than 120 days. “Command Sgt. Maj. (German), you go to the point of fractions, you solve problems, and you do it while developing leaders in the process.”In observation No. 2, Morgan said his brigade was blessed to have the new command sergeant major as he welcomed Zappala and his family.“You (Zappala) bring a level of experience that will continue to make our brigade better,” he said. “The leadership that Command Sgt. Maj. German has provided the last two years, and with the quality of leader we have in Command Sgt. Maj. Zappala, the brigade’s potential is unlimited.”German thanked the Lord, and his family for their love and support and said they were the reason for his success. He also thanked all the great teammates who mentored him throughout his career.“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work with some amazing leaders over the past 27 months,” German said. He named numerous individuals by name and thanked them for their steadfast support. This included his two 428th FA Brigade commanders: Col. Jeff Buck and Morgan.German addressed the brigade formation on the field, which was reduced because Soldiers were training students, and because of the pandemic.“Thank you. It has been an honor allowing me to be part of this family and winning team,” German said. “Your teamwork, dedication, and resiliency goes unmatched.”In his remarks, Zappala acknowledged German’s over 29 years of service to the nation.“Your legacy as a standard-bearer and expert artilleryman is well cemented throughout our branch, and the thousands of Soldiers and leaders you’ve mentored. You will be missed,” he said.Zappala said he was looking forward to working with Morgan as they face challenges together. He concluded by thanking his wife, Dawn Marie, and their four children for their support. Later, he described his leadership style as straightforward and honest.