Command Sgt. Maj. Earlene Y. Lavender assumed responsibility as command sergeant major for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Oct. 4 at Spates Community Club.

"Thank you for joining me today in welcoming an outstanding command sergeant major to the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and Military District of Washington Family," JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter said addressing assembled leaders, friends and family.

"We have a command sergeant major who understands garrison business, understands her role, understands how to get things done, and most importantly, understands how to build strong teams," the commander said highlighting Lavender's qualifications.

"Command Sergeant Major Lavender brings vast experience and a wealth of knowledge to our organization. She understands what it takes to care for Soldiers and Family members. She is a consummate advocate for garrison staff and professionals and respected by her fellow command sergeants major. Most importantly," Sumpter joked, "from what I've learned thus far, she knows how to keep the boss out of trouble.

"In the short amount of time of getting to know her, I am excited about what we are about to do, the heights we will take this garrison to, and the partnerships we will develop and foster together," the commander concluded.

After the ritual passing of the sword, with sword bearer Staff Sgt. Pablo Robledo of Headquarters Command Battalion passing the sword to Sumpter, who then presented it to the new command sergeant major, Lavender spoke.

"I decided not to go into the normal ceremony-style speech verbiage," Lavender said taking the podium. "Instead I want to give you my pledge as your joint base command sergeant major. First, for our stakeholders: I pledge to build a strong bond and professional working relationships, regardless of our disagreements and misunderstandings.

"I pledge to our customers to provide you the best quality of service and listen to your concerns and get feedback -- not to focus on what can't be done or give excuses why something is not done, but to focus on what we can do to accomplish our needs together.

"To our Soldiers and Marines, who don't ask for much, but do a lot, I pledge to remember why the Installation Management Command was established and what my role and responsibility is as joint base command sergeant major.

"You raise your right hand to defend our country," she emphasized, "and at the very least, you deserve an adequate house to live in, a place to enjoy a decent meal, facilities in which to unwind and qualified and professional personnel to provide extra support and services.

"To our civilian workforce, I pledge to support you, give you the respect you deserve and be your voice to the commander," Lavender said. "However, I challenge you all to think outside the box, especially with our budget constraints. This is a pledge or promise that I will strive to not only better myself, but to assist in strengthening our community.

"God bless our Soldiers, Marines and our community," Lavender concluded. "Army Strong, Semper Fi and Family!"

Master Sgt. Jon Deutsch of the U.S. Army Band sang the national anthem at the opening of the ceremony and concluded it by singing both the "Marine Corps Hymn" and "The Army Song."

Lavender was born in Kentucky and enlisted in the Army in 1983, becoming a personnel administrative specialist. Her stateside service includes tours at: Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Lewis, Wash.

Overseas assignments include: Nuremberg and Erlanger, Germany; Fort Kobbe, Panama; Red Cloud, Korea; and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lavender's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and the Army Drill Sergeant Badge.

Lavender holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Excelsior College. The military schools she has attended include the Warrior Leader Course, the Advanced Leader Course, Senior Leader Course, Drill Sergeant School, First Sergeant School, the Sergeant Majors Academy, the Command Sergeant Major Designee Course and the Garrison Sergeant Major course.