Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy D. Lawless Official Command photo.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (November 1, 2023) — Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy D. Lawless, who was born and raised in Widnes, England, will relinquish responsibility of the 7th Infantry Division (7ID) to Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen J. LaRocque during a Change of Responsibility Nov. 2, 2023, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington State, located on the northwest coast of the U.S.
7ID is a 12,000 strong organization, one of only 11 active-duty divisions in the U.S. Army. It is a fighting organization that maintains a constant presence throughout the Indo-Pacific Theater to support allies and interests.
The Change of Responsibility is a natural progression in the Army, like passing the baton in a relay race from one leader to the next. Rotating leaders is the way the U.S. Army keeps fresh ideas flowing into units with an emphasis on leadership.
Lawless, who grew up in Widnes and spent 22 years there, graduated from Wade Deacon High School and then Lancaster University, said he feels a little reluctant to leave after being in the division for two years.
“This has been such a rewarding job,” he said, as he half joked about the Army giving him more time with the unit. “I think it’s good, leaving now, leaving on a high note, still with energy, still wanting to keep going, I think that is the better way to do it.”
Lawless has been on several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan; and often uses the lessons learned from his time in combat theaters to teach the future generation of Soldiers.
“I really enjoy and, think it's valuable, to share those lessons with soldiers. When you see the soldiers incorporate feedback into training and make training more efficient or more realistic, I know I will have long-term effects on the unit because it's going to make soldiers better. Those are times when I think I’ve really contributed to improving the unit, when I see training get better.”
While with 7ID, Lawless has been on several training rotations to Japan, Thailand, Korea, and Indonesia, as well as many rotations to training centers across the U.S.
Lawless, who enlisted into the U.S. Army in April 1997 as an infantryman, had to go to Germany to enlist since there were no U.S. recruiting stations in England. He has served in the Army for more than 26 years and attributes some of his well-rounded foundation to his upbringing in Widnes.
“I still have some family in Widnes and some really good friendships,” Lawless said. “I think it was a great place to grow up. The schools were really, really, good and I received a solid educational foundation, which I feel set me up for future successes.”
“No matter how far you go from home, home is still home,” Lawless said. “Even when I go back there, the roads are different and buildings that used to be there are gone. Even though it’s different, there are still concrete memories of childhood places. It’s still home, even though I’ve not been there in a long time.”
As Lawless prepares to carry on to the next step in his U.S. Army career, he reflected on what he has left behind.
“Leaving the people is hard,” he said. “In many ways, the people in the U.S. Army are some of the best people in the world. They are not all from the U.S., obviously, as I’m not either. But the U.S. Army will take anyone, within reason, from anywhere, it doesn’t matter. If you want to serve in the U.S. Army, it will train you.”
“In general, it’s just full of amazing people. I don’t know how much time I’ve got left, but I know when I leave the U.S. Army, I will never be around a group of people like this ever again.”
Before Lawless departs 7ID, he imparted his thoughts to the future generation of soldiers.
“Every day get a little stronger, a little faster, a little smarter,” Lawless often says to soldiers. “Some days you’ll do a lot more than others, but if you can put your head on a pillow at night and think ‘I’ve done a little something to be better,’ whether it’s a better soldier, a better leader, better spouse, better parent, whatever it is, even if it’s only a little bit better. If you do that over time, then you’re just to improve forever.”