SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii --The 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, traces its roots back to World War II when it stood up as the 1303rd Engineer General Service Regiment, July 15, 1943 at Camp Ellis, Illinois.

The unit played an important role in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe and the Asian-Pacific theatre. In 1956, the regiment was deactivated after it was re-designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Aviation Brigade in Japan. In 1969, the unit moved to Hanau, Germany and re-designated as HHC, 130th Eng. Bde., and then in 2007, the unit moved to Hawaii.

June 20, 2012 marked another historic moment in the 130th Engineer Brigade's history as Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward, outgoing command sergeant major of the 130th Eng. Bde., relinquished responsibility of the brigade to Command Sgt. Maj. John Etter, incoming command sergeant major of the 130th Eng. Bde.

It marked the end of one era and the start of another, when, two years ago, Ward and his commander Col. Jeffrey Milhorn, began to rebuild the brigade after its headquarters returned from Iraq.

"We embraced the task of re-building a team of teams and re-establishing systems of training management, maintenance, and command supply discipline -- many of which had atrophied as a result of 10 years of conflict," said Milhorn during his remarks at the ceremony. "[Ward] personally reinstituted a back to basics approach that contributed to improved unit pride, discipline, camaraderie, and amplified the professionalism of the NCO Corps."

Ward exemplifies what a NCO should be, Milhorn continued. Before the change of responsibility, Command Sgt. Maj. Terrence Murphy, the regimental command sergeant major of the Engineer Regiment, and Milhorn presented Ward with the Silver de Fleury.

The medal is named after the French engineer, Francois Louis Tesseidre de Fleury, who fought with the American army during the Revolutionary War. He displayed extraordinary courage during the Battle at Stony Point in 1779, and for this reason, Congress ordered an award made in his honor. The de Fleury was therefore the first congressional medal made. It remains a very prestigious award in the Engineer Regiment. The Silver de Fleury is presented to individuals who demonstrate outstanding and significant service to the Engineer Regiment.

"I am the proudest sergeant major in the world," Ward said in his final remarks to the brigade. "I've had the privilege of serving the nation's finest Soldiers and their families."

He went on to highlight some of the unit's many accomplishments to include deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan for route clearance and construction operations, as well as missions in the Pacific where the brigade conducted humanitarian projects.

Ward's next job is working with Maj. Gen. Michael Eyre as the first command sergeant major of the Trans-Atlantic Division in Winchester, Virginia.

When it came time for the new Command Sergeant Major of the 130th Engineer Brigade, CSM John Etter, to speak he kept it short and to the point.

"I'm ready," he said with a smile. "Ready to raise the bar of excellence that [Ward] has set so high, and to lead these great bunch of Soldiers."