Selma native wraps up honorable Army career

Published 11:56pm Friday, October 26, 2012

By Capt. Ray Ragan

U.S. Army

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — With a snap of the noncommissioned officer’s sword back into its scabbard, the senior enlisted leader of the Joint Interoperability Test Command symbolically cut his ties to JITC and passed responsibility to a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony here, Oct. 4.

After the change of responsibility, Sgt. Maj. Cary A. Marshall retired, serving 32 years in the U.S. Army and nearly four years of service to JITC, an organization charged with testing, evaluating and certifying communication and information systems and products for joint use. Accepting responsibility for JITC as the senior enlisted leader is Sgt. Maj. Lewis A. Brown. Presiding over the ceremony was JITC’s commander, U.S. Army Col. Douglas J. Orsi.

The change of responsibility ceremony uses the noncommissioned officer’s sword to symbolize the charge of responsibility for a unit as the senior enlisted leader. Marshall, a native of Selma, ceremoniously passed the sword to Command Sgt. Maj. Donald G. Manley, the senior enlisted adviser for the Defense Information Systems Agency. Then Manley passed the sword to Brown, who accepted his charge to provide advice to guide JITC.

“JITC family, you are getting an exceptional leader and family to your organization,” Manley said. “[Brown] brings a wealth of knowledge through the spectrum of not only the Army, but the culture of taking care of people and their families. So I can tell you, you are getting an amazing leader, as well as losing an amazing leader,” he added.

Attending the ceremony were more than 100 people, comprised of family members, servicemembers, civilians and contractors from the Fort Huachuca-headquartered JITC, the nearby community of Sierra Vista, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, where both sergeants major previously served.

Addressing the audience, Brown said, “I am truly honored to a member of the DISA and JITC family, as we understand our role in support DISA’s strategic plan as a joint enabler, I look forward to working with you and for you as a servant leader to meet those goals.”

After the narrator read Marshall’s retirement orders to the audience, Marshall addressed the audience. He gripped the podium as he surveyed the audience to find his wife, Susana, his children and his two brothers, before he began with his farewell.

“Who would have thought a country boy from Selma, Alabama would be standing here today after 32 years of service, not me,” Marshall said. “I have done a lot of things in the Army and the Army life has been good to me and my family.”

Marshall thanked his family for their sacrifice and support, the people that mentored him through his career and the workforce of JITC for their professionalism and warmth.

“JITC, the future is bright and it is yours, I challenge you to grab it and run with it and do the great things I know you are capable of doing.” Marshall concluded. “Sgt. Maj. Brown, the workforce is yours, give them wise counsel and guidance and in return, they will take care of you.”

Prior to the ceremony, members of the B Troop, 4th Regiment, U.S. Calvary (Memorial), Ladies Auxiliary, Anastasia Virden and Claira Venditto presented bouquets of red roses to Marshall’s wife and yellow rose buds to Brown’s wife, Shanda. The yellow roses represented the color of a new beginning, while the red roses represented the beauty and fulfillment of commitment, as part of the JITC family.

Orsi addressed the audience and the Marshall family and said, “At the end of the day when we retire, the only one there is your family, hopefully to your left and right. Obviously your family is here today to your left and right — that’s power and that’s goodness.”

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