FORT BENNING, Ga. - The Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Command Sergeant Major CSM Earl Rice was selected to be the command sergeant major of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, N.C., Wednesday.

"I'm extremely honored to be chosen for such a prestigious position," Rice said. The 18th Airborne Corps' mission is to be a strategic crisis response force, manned and trained to deploy rapidly by air, sea and land anywhere in the world, prepared to fight upon arrival and win. He will serve as LTG Frank Helmick's senior enlisted advisor, replacing CSM Joseph R. Allen, who has been stationed at Fort Bragg since 2005.

Rice came to Fort Benning in May from Vicenza, Italy, where he served as the Southern European Task Force command sergeant major.

MG Michael Ferriter, Fort Benning's commanding general, said Rice's personal energy and leadership style is inspiring.

"He built a team of teams here during a very critical time of transition," Ferriter said. "He's steady on, always focused on the Soldier and the mission of training great Soldiers. He's made a positive impact on the Army from his service here and I know he'll take that same dedication to Fort Bragg."

Rice, who was the NCO of the Year in 1991 for the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps and a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, said he's always tried to be a Soldier's Soldier and will continue "to give it my best every day to keep Soldiers motivated."