Things were going to be challenging for Command Sgt. Maj. Juan Jimenez a couple years ago when he learned he would be the Garrison sergeant major at Redstone Arsenal.
One, he had never been to Huntsville – or North Alabama, for that matter.
Two, his background had been in Patriot missiles so, needless to say, helping run a garrison was going to be a tall task.
Well, let’s throw in a pandemic, and everything that came with it – and is still coming and, just to make things interesting, we’ll add reports that rioters were going to try and come onto the installation in the summer of 2020.
“My two-plus years here have been interesting,” he said. “We are all learning together during these little challenges.”
May 26 is Jimenez’s final day as the Garrison’s command sergeant major. He will transfer to Fort Bliss, Texas, and retire in August after 29 years in the Army.
“I’m going back to El Paso,” he said. “I’ll be closer to my family and my wife’s family.”
Jimenez said he’s leaving with “mixed emotions.” He looks forward to seeing his family on a regular basis but said he would like to be a part of the growth around Huntsville.
“You wish you can stay here to watch the opportunity to grow,” he said. “The FBI, possibly Space Command … it’s exciting.”
Jimenez said he was amazed at the cooperation among the cities, counties and Redstone Arsenal – something that was new to him – as they worked to draw the likes of the FBI, Space Command and large private industrial projects.
“The way the community and the installation work together,” he said. “They sit down and really work things through.
“I haven’t seen this at other installations … people wanting to help each other like that.”
When he was assigned to Redstone Arsenal, Jimenez said, “I was a little taken back. I had to learn about Huntsville. I had never been here.”
He arrived during the pandemic.
“It was trial by error in learning how to do things,” Jimenez said. “How many people do we keep; how many do we send home.
“It was like building a plane in flight.”
But he takes no credit.
“It’s been about the people,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s the people that make it happen.
“They have continued to work through this. Without our workforce, community tenant organizations, we could not accomplish anything without them.
“I want to thank everybody here. It’s been a privilege and an honor to hold the position of Garrison sergeant major.
“I’m looking forward to my next chapter.”