Command Sgt. Maj. Justin Shad relinquished responsibility of the 15th Military Police Brigade to Command Sgt. Maj. Joshua Kreitzer in a ceremony Dec. 2 in Eisenhower Auditorium at the Lewis and Clark Center.
Shad was serving as the 705th MP Battalion (Corrections) command sergeant major in February 2020 when he accepted responsibility of the 15th MP Brigade after his predecessor, Command Sgt. Maj. William Ramsey, died unexpectedly in January 2020.
"(Shad) was called forward to the brigade command sergeant major position, and he masterfully filled the void of leadership at a time when the brigade needed it most," 15th MP Brigade Commander Col. Kevin Payne said. "His calming demeanor, candor and relatability allowed a unit mourning the loss of its senior enlisted leader to continue the mission at the highest levels."
Shad is the brigade's longest-serving command sergeant major, and Payne said he served during a time of "unprecedented turbulence." Challenges included COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures inside and outside the correctional facilities, transitioning from a deployable Modification Table of Organizational Equipment unit to a non-deployable Table of Distribution and Allowances unit, complex mission analysis, drastic manning decreases and more, all while maintaining the Army-mandated mission.
"(Shad) provided a much needed positive influence on the mission, soldiers and families," Payne said. "He forged relationships with our community partners, he represented the brigade with professionalism and dignity, and he exhibited care for soldiers."
Payne said Shad performed his job with accountability, consistency and professionalism while balancing mission requirements.
"As a leader he identified gaps based on his personal understanding of the corrections mission and its inherent complexity. When soldiers brought issues to him, he did everything in his power to elevate them to action," Payne said. "He is an advocate and champion for soldier issues, and his door is always open."
Payne said Shad showed a mastery of the technical aspects of corrections while dealing with high profile inmates and new systems. He made contributions and offered mentorship at both battalions and helped ensure the facilities receive perfect results during multiple assessments.
"Great leaders have the ability to communicate with their superiors, peers and subordinates in a way that exhibits humility, an appropriate level of transparency, and a level of specificity indicative of professionals," Payne said. "Soldiers must feel comfortable bringing forward their most personal issues when they need assistance. Justin is masterful at this, and this is one of the reasons why everyone who works with him holds him in such high esteem. He cares, he listens and he acts."
Shad said that the joint effort to keep the COVID-19 virus out of the USDB and JRCF — while inmates and staff were dying at other facilities — and to do so for such an extended period of time, is one of the things he is very proud of.
"Over my time as brigade sergeant major, I've been blown away time and time again, watching how soldiers come together in times of need, whether it be during the COVID pandemic, conducting drive-through baby showers, food drives, volunteer hours — that are just through the roof, clothing drives, fundraisers, filling food banks for soldiers and families," Shad said. "The soldiers of this brigade are absolutely amazing."
Shad highlighted some of the contributions of the soldiers working different military occupational specialties in the correctional facilities, and he commended the soldiers in the brigade for the life changes he witnessed them experiencing.
"The soldiers of this brigade are truly rock stars, and it motivated me to get out of bed every morning."
In addition to celebrating boards won, college degrees earned, promotions achieved, new marriages, babies born and more with the soldiers of the brigade, Shad said he also saw some of the soldiers get knocked down with personal issues, but that they rebounded with resilience and strength.
"Keep taking care of each other, and keep showing the rest of the MP Corps what right looks like," Shad said, adding that there is no stigma or weakness in getting help for addiction, mental health or other struggles. "I think leaders need to be more transparent when it comes to certain things, and that is one thing, as you know, I push."
Shad will be working at the Directorate of Emergency Services before transitioning out of the Army to retire in the area.
Kreitzer is the second 31B (military police, vs. 31E, corrections) command sergeant major to serve in the position since the 1980s.
"Your reputation is immaculate and I know your predecessor is excited for your future in the brigade," Payne said. "Your previous operational experience in Hawaii, Germany, Fort Bragg, (N.C.), (Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa.) and Fort Jackson (S.C.), will add depth to your contributions to the mission, and it will certainly benefit our soldiers and officers. You will easily correlate your previous military experience to the mission set here, and your credibility will inspire our subordinate NCOs and officers, without a doubt."
Kreitzer recounted how he met Shad years ago on the way to their assignments in the same brigade in Germany.
"It was great to serve with you, and it brings a great deal of comfort knowing that you are right down the road so you can continue mentoring me and giving me some candid advice," Kreitzer said. "These Griffins are your legacy, the credentials of your hard work and dedication, and your impact will long be felt as they advance in their personal and professional lives."
To watch the ceremony, visit https://www.facebook.com/griffin6/videos/813158606422485/.