Fort Jackson welcomed a new member to the command team after Post Command Sgt. Maj. Erick Ochs took responsibility for Fort Jackson from Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier during a change of responsibility ceremony held March 10, on Victory Field.
Ochs said his job on Fort Jackson will be as a senior enlisted advisor; advising the post commander on “all matters of enlisted Soldiers, Family, training, cadre, welfare, discipline and morale.”
Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Army Training Center and Fort Jackson commander, welcomed Ochs to the installation “where expectations are set and where hard work begins,” and called on him to empower Soldiers on post.
“Maintain our people first culture, and through that lens, empower and enable our Solders and leaders to become the best versions of themselves,” Kelly said during the ceremony. “It also means protecting them, protecting them from harmful behaviors and protecting them from unproductive leadership.”
“Command Sgt. Maj. Tavernier you have done this,” he said as he began speaking to Tavernier. “You put the needs of Team Jackson above your own and ensured all were treated right and all were valued …”
Kelly lauded Tavernier’s efforts to improve the installation, while also charging Ochs to be the role model Soldiers need.
“(Ochs) you too must earn the respect of the command and immediately establish yourself as a role model,” Kelly said. Demonstrate how a Soldier “acts on the range, on the track, in the barracks, around town, and both on and off duty.”
Ochs is well-versed in leadership. He has served in every leadership position from team leader to command sergeant major, while also serving as a senior drill sergeant, operations sergeant major at all levels, including as the deputy G3 sergeant major for the 82nd Airborne Division. Ochs also served as the task force command sergeant major for the Army’s first Multi-Domain Task Force.
Kelly called on Ochs to “be the competent professional you know you are, fulfill your responsibilities as you always have, and accept that what we do here is not so easily summarized as Basic Combat Training. We generate readiness so the American people can sleep without fear of any competitor’s aggression.”
“We are more than basic training, we are the Gateway to the Army and the proving ground for more than half of the Army’s Soldiers,” Kelly said. “We are where expectations are set, where hard work begins …”
Tavernier told Fort Jackson they will “be receiving a phenomenal leader” in Ochs, who “is intelligent. He is passionate and he is ready to take this organization to the next level.”
Fort Jackson and the Midlands community has received Ochs with open arms.
The Midlands is an “incredibly military-friendly community,” Ochs said. “It’s just incredibly warm and welcoming … I look forward to working with the Soldiers and the Families on base as well as the community.”
“I look forward to working with each and every member of the Army Training Center and our Partners in Excellence, as well as the greater community of Fort Jackson and Columbia,” Ochs said during the ceremony. “Rest assured my sole purpose and reason for waking up every day is to work for our cadre and Families. My focus will be on your quality of life, leader development … providing the resources to accomplish the mission we ask of you.
“I’m here to be your servant leader, enforce the standards of discipline and training, and assist in the mission to help the next generation be all they can be.”