Kentucky unit gets new command sergeant major

NOTE:  As often as we can, kentuckyguard.com publishes stories by Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs.  This is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story.  This is one such story ….

Story by Spc. Vincent Willingham, 149th BSB Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

COR salute

Command Sgt. Maj. David Owens renders a hand salute to Lt. Col. Ruth Graves, signifying the end of the Change of Responsibility ceremony April 14, 2013 at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky. Owens officially began his tenure as 149th Brigade Support Battalion’s command sergeant major. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Vincent Willingham)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — Members of the 149th Brigade Support Battalion and distinguished guests, including Col. Michael Abell and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson, witnessed the Change of Responsibility Ceremony occur between outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Southard and incoming Command Sgt. Maj. David Owens, April 14, 2013. The ceremony was held at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky.

“It is a great privilege to again fill the role of a CSM. The 149th BSB has had a long line of outstanding leaders and history.  I relish the opportunity.” said Owens, a 31-year veteran of the Kentucky Guard who served as the command sergeant major for an embedded training team in Afghanistan in 2008.

COR SWORD HANDOFF

Lt. Col. Ruth Graves receives the Non-Commissioned Officer Sword from Command Sgt. Maj. Southard during the Change of Responsibility ceremony April 14, 2013 at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, KY. The commander then passed it to Command Sgt. Maj. David Owens, completing the traditional and symbolic transition. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Charles Miller)

During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Ruth Graves, commander of the 149th BSB, passed the non-commissioned officer sword from Southard to Owens, signifying the passing of the trust, responsibility, and authority of the unit’s outgoing top non-commissioned officer to the incoming senior NCO.

Capt. William Rice, acting as narrator, explained the significance and history of the non-commissioned officer’s sword as it relates to the ceremony. The sword was adopted by the War Department in 1840 and it remained in the Army’s inventory for over 70 years, seeing action through the Spanish-American War. Though strictly ceremonial now, the sword –a completely functional weapon- holds its symbolism. Much like the Non-commissioned officer corps, the sword remains razor sharp.

Southard returned to the 238th Regiment, where he will act as Command Sergeant Major for the schoolhouse in Greenville. Owens is also the G1 Sergeant Major, working full time in Frankfort, Ky.

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