NCO sword passed to new state command sergeant major

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Staff Sgt. Evan Armstrong carries the NCO sword during during a change of responsibility ceremony during which his father, Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Armstrong (left) retired from the position of State Command Sergeant Major.  Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley (center right) became Kentucky’s eighth State Command Sergeant Major in a ceremony that took place at the state capitol building rotunda Sept. 12, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini presents the NCO sword to newly instated Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley during a change of responsibility ceremony at the state capitol building rotunda Sept. 12, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard honored its highest ranking enlisted Soldier as Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley became the eighth state command sergeant major during a change of responsibility ceremony in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 12, 2013.

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Chumley assumed the role for retiring Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Armstrong, who held the position since 2009.  Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini presided over the event. The traditional ceremony consisted of the passing of the traditional NCO sword, a symbol of the authority of the NCO.

“I can say without a doubt this is the highlight of my career,” said Chumley.  “I always have been and I always will be committed to the service of our Soldiers and Airmen. Hooah!”

In his position as the senior noncommissioned officer, the state command sergeant major advises the Adjutant General of Kentucky on the nearly 6500 enlisted Soldiers in the Kentucky Army National Guard, emphasizing training and quality of life issues. He is also charged with the fair and equitable management of promotions and personnel actions.

“We’ve redefined ourselves over the last 12 years,” said Tonini. “The key to our way forward is the NCO Corps and the enlisted ranks and Command Sergeant Major Chumley is the right man for the job to make that happen.”

Chumley assumes the role after serving as the command sergeant major for the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery. He recently returned from a deployment with Task Force Longrifles to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Armstrong hugs his mother following a change of responsibility ceremony at the state capitol building rotunda Sept. 12, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Armstrong will retire following a 41-year career in uniform and will continue his work with the Kentucky Guard at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky. He leaves a lasting impression on Kentucky and the Citizen-Soldiers of the Commonwealth.

“I have had a wonderfully long and rewarding career,” he said. “I am profoundly grateful and touched by the distinction and honored compliments bestowed on me today.”

Armstrong said he was very humbled by his tenure as the state command sergeant major and by the ceremony in the Capitol, which included his son, Evan, a staff sergeant with the Kentucky Guard’s 130th Engineer Support Company.  Armstrong choose his son to deliver the NCO sword to him to begin the ceremony.

“I’m very proud of my dad,” Evan said.  “I hope that I’m able to fulfill and live up to his legacy one day.”

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