CSM Mark Horsley became the 21st commandant of the Henry Caro Noncommissioned Officer Academy during a change of command ceremony Tuesday at Ridgway Hall. He will continue to serve as the commandant of the U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort Knox, Ky., until it conducts its last course Oct. 26.

Horsley replaces CSM Zoltan James, who is retiring. During the ceremony James, who became the commandant in April 2008, received a Meritorious Service Medal.

Maneuver Center of Excellence CSM Earl Rice said Horsley's new role is yet another symbolic benchmark of armor's relocation to Fort Benning.

"We are acknowledging that we train most effectively when we train as we fight," Rice said, "and that's together. One force, one fight."

Rice said James set a new standard for NCOs and Horsley is the right person to lead the academy to the next level.

The new commandant said his first order of business is to convey his leadership style to his new staff.

The Georgia native is currently pursuing an associate degree in criminal justice at Troy University. He has been on numerous deployments to include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt and multiple rotations to Iraq, and he has a Bronze Star Medal, among other awards.

Horsley said he will be relying on delegation of authority and technology during the coming months, but he is still sorting out the details of how he will lead both schools.

"It's going to be demanding and challenging, but I'm looking forward to it," Horsley said. "It will just make me better."

Rice hailed James as an excellent leader who demonstrated his capabilities when the academy was evaluated in November.

"He took the lead in transforming an outdated academy to one that is updated, relevant and well-respected by our Army and many foreign armies," Rice said. "His attention to detail, commitment to excellence and determination to never accept defeat was recognized during accreditation in November by achieving outstanding results in all categories."

James served 25 years, including three assignments at Fort Benning. He holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and is currently working on his master's in business administration. His awards and decorations include a Bronze Star Medal.

He said his 21 months leading the academy passed quickly.

"We set our vision," James said. We got organized, and we got to work being the best academy in the Army. Our vision was a goal ... to be the best, and we are the best. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity, not normally given to NCOs during their career, to have commanded the Maneuver Center of Excellence NCO academy."