By Jeremy WiseDecember 18, 2009
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With the clink of a noncommissioned officer sword against its scabbard, Command Sgt. Maj. Dwaine E. Walters replaced Command Sgt. Major Robert E. Felder as the garrison's top senior enlisted Soldier Tuesday.
"Today is a great day for me and my Family. We look forward to all the new relationships that we're (going to) form here at Fort Rucker and the surrounding Wiregrass community," Walters said during his change of responsibility ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.
The ceremony involved the passing of the NCO sword from Felder to Garrison Commander Col. Yvette Kelley to Walters, signifying the passing of responsibility.
Walters last served as 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment's command sergeant major at Fort Campbell, Ky. He returned in January from serving in the same position for Task Force Shadow in Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq.
Walters is no stranger to Fort Rucker. He learned to become a utility helicopter repairer during Advanced Individual Training in the mid-1980s.
During his 25-year Army career, Walters served in many positions, giving him "a very broad perspective," Kelley said. His experiences qualify him to aid the organization that supports Soldiers and Families with anything from religious and recreational activities to security and logistics, Kelley said.
"He comes with great experience and comes with a great reputation of taking care of Soldiers and Families," she said.
Walters succeeds Felder, who helped with many developments here, including the creation of the Splash! Park, Dawn Patrol Lounge remodeling and renaming to The Landing Zone, and housing developments for senior enlisted Soldiers, Kelley said. He also improved the holiday food voucher program and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program. BOSS received five Army-wide awards in Felder's time here.
"His personal involvement ... and the way he interacted with other senior leaders was vital to the success of many important programs," Kelley said.
Felder moves on to serve with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.
Serving as the garrison's top senior NCO since March 2007, Felder said the move to Fort Rucker was a good one for him.
"After walking into my office day one, and the G6 (leader) George Reichard ... said 'Whatever you need, Sergeant Major, we can make it happen.' I knew I was in the right place," Felder said. "This is the best garrison to work for."
Felder also offered wisdom to Walters, who comes here with wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Alison, Kristen and Baylee.
"My advice is to enjoy the ride and keep Soldiers first," he said.