FORT RILEY, Kan.- The 1st Infantry Division held a Victory with Honors Ceremony on December 9, 2022 in the division’s headquarters building.
The event, attended by several command teams within the Big Red One, was held to honor and say farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Albert A. Serrano, the Ready Reserve Command Sergeant Major of the 1st Inf. Div.
Serrano simultaneously filled the role of the command sergeant major of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. He officially relinquished the responsibility of the 1st CAB sergeant major earlier in the week, where he was awarded the Honorable Order of St. Michael (Bronze) medal from the Army Aviation Association of America.
Serrano, between long emotional pauses, delivered his final speech to the audience. Self-professing to never have been a fan of the spotlight, he chose to bestow a simple lesson he has learned over his storied career.
“Enjoy the journey. Oftentimes, we look too far ahead to see what’s next to us.” Serrano said, “Slow down, enjoy the ride, enjoy right now or you’ll eventually miss some of it- and regret it.”
Serrano is set to retire next month after 30 years of service to the United States Army with the ready reserve sergeant major position having been his final duty to the Army.
“[Sgt. Maj. Serrano] never wavered in his commitment to Soldiers, Families, or the mission,” said Brig. Gen. Niave F. Knell, the deputy commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley. “Sergeant Major’s constant presence and decisive action truly made a difference in the health and welfare of our Soldiers.”
During the ceremony, Serrano received the Legion of Merit for his exceptionally meritorious service to both the 1st Inf. Div. and the Army. His wife, Amber Serrano, received the Public Service Commendation Medal as well as the Lady Victory Award for her service to the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley community.
“I walk away happy, fulfilled and mostly on my terms. I left it all on the field and I would do it all again if I had to,” Serrano said. “Fort Riley, the 1st Inf. Div., the surrounding communities and the people here are incredible. I'm grateful to call this place home.”
Serrano is followed by Command Sgt. Maj. Clarence Raby as the next ready reserve division command sergeant major.
Serrano was featured in the 1st Inf. Div. “Meet Your Army'' YouTube series, which was shown at the ceremony and is viewable on the 1st Inf. Div. YouTube page. A recording of the ceremony will also be viewable on the 1st Infantry Division’s Facebook page.