The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command conducted a change of responsibility ceremony Dec. 16, 2022, welcoming its incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen A. Burnley while bidding farewell to the departing Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Rice.
USASAC's Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Brad Nicholson hosted the event as Rice relinquished his duties to Burnley during a time-honored ceremony in the Bob Jones Auditorium at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
During his opening remarks, Nicholson recollected a quote from the fourth sergeant major of the U.S. Army, Sgt. Maj. Leon L. Van Autreve. “The success of the Army is in direct proportion to the involvement of the noncommissioned officer corps. No one has exemplified that success or that involvement more than Command Sergeant Major Rice during his tour here at USASAC,” said Nicholson.
“There is no one in USASAC that has gone untouched by the positive servant leadership demonstrated daily by Command Sergeant Major Rice,” said Nicholson. He noted that Rice has seen USASAC through several commanders, a global pandemic and ongoing war in Ukraine. He called him knowledgeable and compassionate, using a lifetime of superior military experience to champion Army-wide diversity and accessions initiatives, and support the professionalization of the security cooperation workforce. “We have been lucky to have him in our ranks.”
Nicholson said the command is forever grateful for his contributions and sad to see him in go.
“As we farewell Rice, we also welcome Command Sergeant Major Burnley, an exceptional Soldier with nearly three decades wearing our nation’s cloth. We welcome him, his wife and daughters into our ranks with open arms.
Rice, who plans to retire in early 2023, said he and his wife are deeply honored for the well attended ceremony. He recognized several friends, family and colleagues in the audience for their support and the profound impact they’ve had on his life.
“Coming to USASAC as my last assignment wasn’t the original plan but what a blessing it has been,” said Rice. “Having the opportunity to work with all of our allies and partners, and industry, in support of the joint force and the Army has been the opportunity of a lifetime. And to see our mission become even more critical over the past months and years shows the world that USASAC and the United States Army Materiel Command Security Assistance Enterprise can always meet the challenge, set and sustain the gold standard as the security assistance partner of choice, and improve our global security posture.”
He thanked the workforce, leadership and colleagues for their support and service. “I know as I depart that you’re left in phenomenal hands in Command Sergeant Major Stephen Burnley.”
Burnley comes to USASAC after having served as the command sergeant major for Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill (Oklahoma) and will serve as the fifth command sergeant major in USASAC’s 57-year history.
During his remarks, Burnley also thanked family, friends and colleagues for their attendance.
“I know that it is always a privilege to lead, and that the USASAC mission has never been more important to the joint force or to the U.S. Army. Whether increasing allies and partners’ defense capability or providing support in peace or in conflict, this command is critical to safeguarding our nation’s security interests. I come hungry and ready to join the expert team of Civilians and Soldiers who serve in this great organization, here and around the world.