FORT HOOD, TX -- 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Minton saw a lot during his tenure as first sergeant. From awards to promotions and a six month deployment to Iraq and Kuwait, there was always something going on.

Minton's responsibilities to his unit, the Alpha Battery, "Gators," 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, came to a finish as he conducted a change of responsibility ceremony Jan. 20 on Fort Hood, Texas.

Since his arrival to the Gators, Minton, originally a Columbia, S.C. native, has been known to be a tough, but fair leader.

His dedication and work ethic pushed the Soldiers in the Battery to become better professional Soldiers and men, said the commander of the Gator Battery, Capt. Bryan Hammond, a Magazine, Ark., native.

Prior to taking over as the senior non-commissioned officer for Alpha Battery in February of 2010, Minton served as a cannon crew member at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Sill, Okla.; Hanau, Germany; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He has deployed 5 times since enlisting in the Army in 1990, including deployments to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Storm; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Sea Signal; twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and most recently to Balad, Iraq, in support of Operation New Dawn.

Under Minton's guidance and supervision, Alpha Battery conducted over 300 combat missions and repostured to Kuwait as his unit's mission in Iraq came to a close.

During Minton's time as first sergeant of the Gator Battery, both before and during its deployment, Minton saw his unit accomplish numerous feats that set it apart from its fellow batteries. These accomplishments included winning five physical fitness competitions, having the highest average physical fitness score within its battalion, being recognized as the top howitzer platoon and battery within its brigade and earning the highest score for its brigade's light cavalry gunnery cycle.

Besides helping his unit earn these accomplishments, Minton said one of his most important roles was being mentor to his Soldiers.

"I can say that I had an opportunity to lead, guide, and mentor some of the greatest Soldiers, NCOs, and Officers that this Army has to offer," said Minton. "I will always be a Gator."

"1st Sgt. Minton was instrumental in the development of the non-commissioned officers within the Battery," said Hammond.

As Minton leaves, he can feel confident that his guidance and leadership paved the way for his unit to easily transition to a new first sergeant.

"I stepped into a great situation at Alpha" stated 1st Sgt. Stanley Love, the Vernon, Texas, native that will be taking over for Minton. "1st Sgt. Minton set a high standard of conduct and performance within the Gators and I look forward to working with the outstanding Soldiers, NCOs and Officers."

Minton will take the experience he has gained from this position to his new job as first sergeant at a different battery within the same battalion, giving him new opportunities to mentor Soldiers and leaders to help his new unit accomplish any mission that comes their way.