By Sgt. Joseph McAtee, 3rd ID Public AffairsOctober 14, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. Aca,!" The four deployments to Iraq. The numerous awards, medals, certificates of achievements and various accolades. The never-ending stream of parades, events, ceremonies and formations. Throughout the last four years, Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews built a remarkable portfolio of memories and accomplishments during his tenure as the 3rd Infantry Division command sergeant major.
When speaking with Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews, he emits a palpable sense of duty to uphold the legacy of his predecessors, and the legacy of the 3rd ID.
"The legacy I want to leave is that I took the foundation that was built by those 51 Medal of Honor winners we have," he said. "Within the scope of being the division command sergeant major, we continued to build on that legacy, and we made 3rd ID better. We did.
"Working with the sergeants major and continuing to set the example for them is really what I was trying to get at to make sure they understand that it's always about something bigger than ourselves."
He has carried that perspective of a larger responsibility for nearly a decade in the division at various levels, starting with his time as the command sergeant major of 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team. He later assumed the command sergeant major position for 3rd HBCT before being selected to lead the division, a selection that came as he was preparing to lead the Sledgehammers as part of "The Surge" in Iraq in 2007.
"I came down on a Tuesday, interviewed with [then-3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Rick] Lynch, was accepted for the job, and came back that Thursday," he said. "We cased the colors, I was on leave for 11 days and then we deployed as part of The Surge."
As a Dog Face Soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews has deployed to Iraq four times; his experience at various levels of leadership, both during those deployment and during the preparations he and his units conducted before leaving, have prepared him for his next assignment - to be the command sergeant major for 1st Army, out of Fort Gillem, Ga.
"I hate losing him, but he is going to the exact duty in the Army where he can use his four combat tours as a command sergeant major to the greatest benefit," said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd ID commander. "I will miss him, but I burst with pride when I tell folks that, at least for a short while, I served with Jesse Andrews and we were the Command Team of the finest Division from the best home base in the Army."
His experiences and observations with 3rd ID are what he will look to pass on to the units of 1st Army, units that over which he will have a key role in preparing for deployment themselves.
"Being able to deploy, to be in garrison, and the deployments as a battalion command sergeant major, brigade command sergeant major, and now twice as a division command sergeant major, I've seen all the things required of our (noncommissioned officers)," he said.
As the senior enlisted advisor for the division, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews has worked side by side with Maj. Gen. Cucolo, leading the division in Iraq in overseeing national elections and the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn. His extraordinarily high praise, saying that Maj. Gen. Cucolo was the best commanding officer he has ever worked with, parallels the praise Maj. Gen. Cucolo heaped on him.
"The commander-command sergeant major relationship is a very special one, and probably the most important relationship among leaders in units from battalion to Army level," Maj. Gen. Cucolo said. "I have been blessed with a fantastic wingman for the past two-plus years, one who made this key relationship work magnificently. My Battle Buddy, Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews, has faithfully stood by me under all conditions, deployed and in garrison - and we've been through some interesting times, most of which will only be known to us!
"He backed me up when I was under 'heavy fire,' the kind of fire that really tests moral courage and makes weak 'sunshine leaders' run away from you - he was rock steady, he never wavered and I will be forever grateful to him for sticking with me. And even though I've had his back all the way, frankly, he never needed much help! His wonderful energy actually gave me motivation and strength to leave it all on the field as we fought together to care for our Soldiers, our civilians and all our Families while we executed our mission.
"He should be remembered during his long tenure here in the Division as the consummate NCO, the iron command sergeant major: tough but fair, our conscience and enforcer of high standards. I've not seen a more dedicated or focused individual when it came to Dog Face Soldiers ... he was always there, watching out for them, keeping them safe and making sure their training was at a level that would keep them alive in the face of a ruthless enemy."
Though he'll leave Fort Stewart and the 3rd ID, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews takes with him the legacy of the division, the revered history of a unit that he helped write.
"We really connected this division's legacy as being the best combat maneuver division in the Army with our mission that we had during the surge and this last deployment," he said. "This isn't just something that's talked about: 3rd ID being the best combat maneuver division in the Army. We let our actions speak louder than our words."
Command Sergeant Major will be accompanied by his wife, Frankie, in the move to Fort Gillem; his daughter, Kionna, is a freshman at the University of Texas at El Paso.