FORT KNOX, Ky. - The 1st Theater Sustainment Command held a relinquishment of responsibility ceremony March 14 at Waybur Theater here.
1st TSC’s senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Perry III, relinquished his leadership roles and responsibility after serving in the command for 20 months.
During his tenure, Perry played a vital role in the 1st TSC, as well as its area of operations. He advised the commander, instilled discipline and set the standards for all to emulate and follow.
Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr., commanding general of 1st TSC, presided over the ceremony where he recounted Perry’s accomplishments and legacy.
Russell said the sergeant major’s advice and counsel can be seen all across the theater, in the desert sands and here.
“He has seen the gamut - from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, to Iranian aggression, to the retrograde in Afghanistan, to 13 fallen heroes, to now; he has impacted and advised me on all of that,” said Russell.
The commanding general recapped how and why Perry is leaving the legacy that he is, capturing it by sharing three examples that exemplify Perry’s leadership acumen.
“Perry was known to say to someone who needed motivation, ‘You either fall into one of two categories- I don’t know or I don’t care,’” explained Russell.
The logic of the statement being that, “If you don’t know, you need to find out to professionally move yourself and your formation forward,” Russell added.
Another example of Perry’s impact is when he told Russell, “Sir, I’ll always call balls and strikes,” which the general said shows immense personal courage.
“I always got what I needed to know, not what he thought I needed to know,” Russell said. “No matter how sticky the situation was, he would always call it like he saw it.”
Lastly, Perry would often say, “Leadership is a privilege, not an inherent right. Make the most of the opportunity to serve and be humble.”
“There is no hubris in this man. There is no hubris in this leader. There is only humility,” Russell concluded.
Perry thanked the commanding general, the Soldiers and civilians of First Team, his family, the entire 1st TSC command group past and present, the leaders at U.S. Army Central, everyone present or viewing live.
Perry described having both a personal and professional connection with Russell who he began a battlefield rotation with, only 10 days after taking command last July.
“I have really appreciated the way that you (Maj. Gen. Russell) have advocated for command sergeants major, sergeants major, and NCOs in general,” he said. “You have taught commanders and staff officers, when you have a relevant sergeant major, how to leverage him or her, and that is powerful for those units, those directorates, and for our Army.”
“Thank you so much for having the trust that you did in me, sir, and how that resonated across the entire organization,” Perry concluded.
Perry left the stage for what he called the hardest thank you.
He presented his wife, Razell, with a dozen red roses and said he would not be the leader he is today without her by his side. He then gave his son, Gavin, a challenge coin and thanked him for being such a great young man.
Lastly, the outgoing sergeant major described how all of the positions in which he has served have prepared him for the next and expressed how thankful he is for the next chapter of his career.
Perry was selected to serve as the senior enlisted advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations, G-9, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., where he will provide policy and fiscal oversight of Quality of Life and Soldier and Family Programs on behalf of entire Army.
Perry said it is a tremendous honor to be able to use his passion for people, taking care of Soldiers and families, and the impact that he’ll be able to have in the Pentagon driving policy.