Fort Sill said a fond farewell to the post's garrison command sergeant major and welcomed another March 27 in a ceremony in front of post headquarters.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Powell, formerly the battalion command sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, replaced Command Sgt. Maj. David Kantor, who retired after nearly three decades of military service.

Kantor said his retirement was bittersweet because for the last few months it had been a day on the calendar, a mark on the wall, that he hoped would not come.

He also said there have been numerous officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers over the years who made a significant impact on his life.

"They are too numerous to name," Kantor said. "There is always a fear of forgetting friends, peers and supervisors who truly impacted me, but I will always cherish the time spent behind the gun, being deployed during training events and even during combat. I want to thank you all."

Col. Robert Bridgford, garrison commander, said Kantor had been an unlikely choice for the position because of his warfighting background, but that he proved to be the perfect person for the job.

"Before he came here he was the division artillery command sergeant major of 1st Armored Division. He took that DIVARTY to war and brought it back; he'd gone to war before in Desert Storm, filling nothing but a series of warfighting jobs," said Bridgford. "And then he left that job in 1st AD DIVARTY, and they sent him to a garrison at Fort Sill. What in the heck was the Army thinking'" he asked.

Bridgford then explained that what made Kantor the right person for the garrison command sergeant major position was his passion for taking care of Soldiers and families.

"He is a passionate, passionate man who cares," he said. "So when you think about a guy with all that tactical background coming to a garrison, well, maybe that's not such a bad thing at all."

Bridgeford said Powell has the same traits for success that Kantor had when he took responsibility as garrison command sergeant major. "Powell has a background much like Kantor's. He is a tactical, hard-core warfighter," he said.

Col. John Uberti, Fort Sill chief of staff, said saying goodbye to Kantor was bittersweet, but it gave him a chance to recognize the importance of the role the Army's noncommissioned officer corps plays in the Army.

"Kantor has served in the toughest troop leading positions in our Army, to include service as a drill sergeant, and has held every leadership position from chief of section to division artillery and garrison command sergeant major tours and two combat tours," Uberti said. " ... He has always brought with him a special perspective about what it takes to care for our national treasure, its sons and daughters, and not just those sons and daughters who are wearing the uniform, but those serving in other ways, and more importantly those family members who support and care for and love those in uniform."

Uberti said Kantor and his wife, Erin, know what it takes to care for and empower families during a time of war, and they have both made lasting contributions to the numerous families, Soldiers, individuals and communities they've touched in 30 years of service.

"Kantor, as garrison command sergeant major, directly enhanced the readiness and well being of everyone on this great post," Uberti said. "He is the embodiment of the NCO Creed. He made a positive impact every day he was here because of the special bond he built with those around him. His willingness to tackle and solve tough problems for the betterment of all in our community was his signature and will be his legacy."

As a final parting statement, Kantor told Powell he envied him as he continues in his journey in assuming the duties and responsibilities as the garrison command sergeant major.

"This job is one that is completely different from any other position that I've had and one that rewarded me in some of the best ways I never thought possible."