FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Braswell received the noncommissioned officer sword from Command Sgt. Maj. Travis L. Cherry as the 516th Signal Brigade welcomed the Signal Corps' newest brigade CSM during a change of responsibility ceremony, at historic Palm Circle, Jan. 17.
In his remarks, Col. Scott Baer, 516th Sig. Bde. Commander, extended a welcome to the new commander of troops and his wife, the former Miss Piyanee Voranuch of Bangkok, Thailand.
"We are delighted to have you on board, and I look forward to working together as we continue to form this great team across the Pacific," Baer said to Braswell. "PJ welcome to the Brigade! We are lucky to have you both."
"Command Sgt. Maj. Braswell understands the complexity of the mission, coming to us from 304th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., in Korea," Baer said.
During Braswell's remarks, he expressed enthusiasm and gratitude, thanking God that he is "here in good health [and] able to take on such an awesome challenge." He said both he and PJ are passionate about the care of the Soldiers and Families of the brigade.
Braswell's portfolio speaks volumes of his experience. In addition to two Middle East tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a variety of assignments have polished him as a leader, to include tank gunner, signal system team chief, primary leadership development course instructor, section Sergeant, and drill Sergeant.
For his many military accomplishments, Braswell has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Sergeant Audie Murphy award and branch recognition for significant leadership contributions to Signal, Field Artillery, and Ordinance.
Allen Jr., one of the Braswell's three children and a Senior Airman stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, attended the ceremony with his wife, Lauren and their infant son, Levi.
Baer also took time to honor the accomplishments of outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Cherry. He reflected on events such as the contractor-to-Soldier conversion of the Regional Hub Node in Guam, and the reorganization of 78th Sig. Bn. at in Camp Zama, Japan to accomplish the missions of both the joint task force group mission on mainland Japan and that of recently inactivated HHD, 58th Sig. Bn., on Okinawa.
"The trust and confidence Command Sgt. Maj. Cherry developed with the senior leaders of our theater over the past 14 months reaped great rewards for the brigade as we charted the way ahead under this new paradigm," Baer said.
Cherry reflected on numerous trips throughout the Pacific brought to mind by the battalion colors waving in the warm breeze: Camp Zama and Okinawa, Japan; Kwajalein Atoll; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and Fort Wainright/Fort Greeley, Alaska; and those around Oahu. He reflected on the extensive amount of travel inherent in managing the most geographically dispersed Signal Brigade in the Army.
"The longest time frame [Col. Baer and I] remained on Oahu was only 18 days," he stated.
Cherry credited and thanked the battalions and brigade teams for their accomplishments and support. He reminisced on events that build camaraderie such as a battalion run in Alaska's minus-ten-degree temperatures and runners wearing spikes to avoid slipping on ice, and events shared with Baer whom he described as his battle buddy, leader, mentor, friend, and most of all, as family.
Cherry will take his expertise two blocks east to the brigade's superior command in his new assignment as the 311th Signal Command (Theater) Command Sgt. Maj. His scope of leadership will include the Soldiers of the 516th Sig. Bde., the 1st Signal Brigade in Korea; HHC, 311th SC (T); and the 311th Support Unit in Costa Mesa, Calif.
"I will work hard to earn the respect of everyone -- Civilians and Soldiers, alike," Braswell said. "My fellow Noncommissioned officers and I will keep the enlisted ranks of this brigade in step and mission oriented."
Headquartered on historic Palm Circle, 516th Sig. Bde. is a major subordinate operations and maintenance command of 311th Sig. Cmd. (T) whose mission is to conduct network operations for theater-based LandWarNet communications systems, networks, and enterprise services and provide information services support to generating forces and intergovernmental, interagency and civil authorities during full spectrum operations.-30-