IRL welcomes Roldan as new enlisted leader

By Mel SlaterNovember 22, 2023

The enlisted leadership responsibility at the U.S. Army Institute for Religious Leadership has changed hands.

The Institute commandant, Chaplain (Col.) Louis DelTufo officiated the change of responsibility ceremony to formally recognize the transfer of responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Evelin Montealegre to Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Roldan, Nov. 20.

The event attended by chaplains, sergeants major and other senior enlisted personnel from across the Chaplain Corps. The list of attendees included Deputy Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) William “Bill” Green, Jr. and Regimental Sergeant Major Sgt. Maj. Meagan Bicklein. Fort Jackson Commanding General Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Erick Ochs were also in attendance.

Del Tufo and the Institute acknowledged how Montealegre positively affected the Institute.

Montealegre was given high praise and gratitude for her service and contribution to the Institute, the Chaplain Corps, and the Army.

“Well, today is a big deal. And I’m proud to bear witness to this transition and I’m proud to recognize Command Sgt. Maj. Evelin Montealegre who is the real deal,” said DelTufo. “You have truly led from the front, and you have exemplified ‘Be, Know and Do’ leadership.

“You’ve been a coach, teacher and mentor to so many both officer and enlisted over the years and you have left your mark on the Army, our Chaplain Corps, and USA-IRL.”

Montealegre, a native of Mexico, assumed the position in 2021 and is the 12th Command Sergeant Major of the Institute for Religious Leadership. She has served in many leadership positions at the Institute, from drill sergeant to team leader and finally, command sergeant major.

As the Institute’s senior enlisted advisor, she was charged with overseeing enlisted Soldiers for the organization and providing input on enlisted matters to the commandant. She also served as the commandant for the Noncommissioned Officers Academy.

Montealegre retired with 30 years of active-duty service. Her retirement ceremony took place after the change of responsibility.

During the ceremony she noted the many mentors, retired sergeants major and others who came in support of their fellow sergeant major. She was also joined by her cousin, Ruby.

“It has been a rollercoaster with high emotions, laughs, deployments, the scary moments, but it also has been an honor and a privilege to serve my country in this capacity,” Montealegre said. “I am grateful for the experiences, relationships and everything that I have gained through my career.”

She added she has “had unique opportunities to provide spiritual support and guidance to servicemembers and their Families regardless of their religious beliefs. I will now close my military career and fade away like the old Soldier.

“I have served my nation with loyalty and humility and to the best of my ability. But make no mistake, I will continue to be a Soldier even out of uniform. I am an American Soldier.”

Roldan is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Tates Creek Senior High School in Lexington, Kentucky and entered the Army on February 16, 2000. He completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson and holds the military occupational specialty of 56M, Religious Affairs Specialist.

He previously served as Religious Affairs Specialist AIT Instructor and Senior Developer/Writer at the Institute.

Roldan with his wife, Veronica, expressed his gladness to be back at the Institute and an eagerness to get to work.

“To my IRL teammates, this is my home. I take great pride in what we do here. How we provide the Army with educated, trained and certified religious support professionals who are capable of supporting commanders in the field and taking care of Soldiers and Families,” Roldan said. “I am humbled and honored to be your command sergeant major I look forward to working with you to accomplish the mission.”