NATICK, Mass. -- More than just thousands of miles separate Afghanistan from U.S. Army Garrison Natick. Just ask Sgt. Maj. Robert Beausoleil, who recently went from one to the other.

Beausoleil arrived here Oct. 22, signed in at USAG-Natick Dec. 10, and had his assumption of responsibility ceremony March 4 as Natick's command sergeant major. During the ceremony, Lt. Col. (P) Frank Sobchak, garrison commander, welcomed Beausoleil.

"Over the past few months, I've seen his dedication, his commitment to standards and excellence and his good judgment, time and time again," Sobchak said. "I'm also happy because I know that we share a commitment to customer service, to teamwork, … to essentially making our piece of the world here at Natick better, one step at a time."

Beausoleil said he was taking on the most "rewarding and challenging position in my career, to ensure Soldiers, families and civilian employees are being cared for with the utmost respect and dignity."

It has been a change of pace for Beausoleil, a 21-year Army veteran who has served two tours in Iraq in addition to his deployment to Afghanistan.

"I'm so used to the op-tempo of Afghanistan -- you know, seven days a week, nonstop work," Beausoleil said. "I came here still on that high, that adrenaline rush. I've kind of slowed down now."

Perhaps, but Beausoleil still has maintained his momentum pace at Natick, visiting directorates and meeting employees to learn as much as he can about how the installation functions.

"I think I've done a really good assessment in going out to the different organizations, not only to the directorate level, but going down to the employees below that level and seeing what they do firsthand," Beausoleil said. "You've got to build a team. You've got to have cohesion."

Forging that cohesion, fully implementing the Total Army Sponsorship Program, Army Transition Assistance Program (TAP) , execution of the Army Professional Education and Training Program, and advocating motorcycle safety are just some immediate areas that Beausoleil wants to address during his early days at Natick.

"You've got to take your time, because what you don't want to do is try and implement everything all at once," said Beausoleil, "and then you're going to get a negative effect from your ultimate goal of trying to build cohesion within the organization."

Natick became Beausoleil's goal when he graduated from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, because it would put him closer to his native Rhode Island.

"Fortunately, when the list came out, I was selected to take over," Beausoleil said. "It was good for the family."

And good for Natick, which should benefit from Beausoleil's considerable experience.

"I know what the Soldiers need and things they ask for, and this place … is where I can impact that," Beausoleil said. "How can we make things better for our Soldiers?"

Beausoleil has no Soldiers directly under him in the garrison, but he said that he will advise those at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

"That's kind of my avenue to stay linked in with Soldiers," Beausoleil said. "I still can have an impact on Soldiers through mentorship, guidance."

Beausoleil comes to Natick at a time of fiscal restraint for the Army, and he knows that will only add to his concerns.

"Our ultimate goal as a garrison is to provide quality-of-life support to everybody here," Beausoleil said. "With the uncertainty of sequestration, there (are) a lot of things that go with that. Those things are very important to Soldiers, DoD civilians and family members.

"Ultimately, I am very happy to be here. I look forward to the challenges ahead, and we'll make improvements one step at a time as a collective team effort."