FORT SILL, Oklahoma (March 18, 2021) -- The Army Reserve 95th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) here welcomed new senior enlisted leadership during a change of responsibility ceremony March 13, 2021, at Vessey Hall.
Incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Raney took the reins from Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Potts, who moves on to the 76th Operational Response Command at Fort Douglas, Utah. Raney was most recently the CSM in the division’s 1st Brigade.
“I am extremely pleased, privileged, and truly blessed (to be selected),” said Raney, a traditional Reserve Soldier, who works as a firefighter for the Edmond (Oklahoma) Fire Department.
He described his leadership style as empowering subordinates. “The main thing that I want to do is block and tackle to remove obstacles so the Soldiers of the division can produce drill sergeants.”
Raney said he grew up in the 95th Div. “The Iron Men of Metz” of World War II acclaim. He made drill sergeant as an E-5 in the division, and has spent between 15 and 20 of his 33 years of service in the division.
Brig. Gen. Susie Kuilan, 95th Division commanding general, hosted the ceremony. She recounted Potts’ accomplishments, and welcomed the Raneys.
Kuilan said she has only worked with Potts since January, but immediately clicked with him.
“I’m super happy and proud for CSM Potts. He’s moving up to a two-star nominative position,” she said, “and he’ll do wonderful things up there.”
“He (Potts) definitely has the pulse of this division; I would even say he is the face of this division,” Kuilan said. “He took the time to mentor NCOs and officers.”
“He fights to ensure that our Soldiers get to PME (Professional Military Education) and that our drill sergeants have everything they need to serve, including the same uniform as our active duty.”
“This CSM has accomplished a lot as ‘Ironman 7,’ and his efforts have ensured that this division is the best in the United States Army Reserve,” the general said.
After meeting with Raney, Kuilan said she knew he would be great for the 95th Div., and a great working fit for her, too.
“I know I’m in good hands with CSM Raney, I know the Division is in good hands,” she said.
During the ceremony, Sgt. Maj. Erik Kropf, Division operations, handed the 95th Tng. Div. colors to Potts, who in his last act as the CSM gave them to Kuilan. The general then passed the colors to Raney symbolizing the transfer of enlisted leadership. Raney returned the colors to Kropf for safekeeping.
Potts, who had been the CSM since January 2019, said the unit’s Soldiers made it the premier Division in the Reserve.
“This Division is known for its competitive spirit and its willingness to win at all levels from overall metrics and production to winning the Soldier of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Drill Sergeant of the Year for the entire Army Reserve,” Potts said.
Iron sharpens iron and that’s how the Division encourages, coaches, and mentors Soldiers through positive reinforcement, said Potts, who in his civilian job works for an energy company, and is a realtor in the Fort Cobb, Oklahoma, area. “These units have definitely left their mark for being the best of the best.”
He went on to thank numerous Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians by name, as well as his civilian employers. He also thanked his wife Lindsay and teenage son Corbin, and friends.
“Lindsay, thank you for keeping the faith and the family on the right path,” said Potts. “Corbin, thank you as well. For 14 years you have served with your dad.”
Potts said he thought he would retire from the 95th Tng. Div., but the Army had other plans for him.
At Fort Douglas, Potts will be responsible for about 9,000 Reserve Soldiers who are involved in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear, or CBRN, and other missions.
Afterward, guests congratulated Raney, and said farewell to the Potts family at a reception in Vessey Hall.