‘Daggers’ welcome new senior NCO
New 2nd HBCT senior NCO, Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin, left, greets his predecessor, Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Lewis, right, following a change of responsibility ceremony May 11 at Custer Hill Parade Field.
Story by: Mollie Miller
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
One chapter closed and a new one opened for Soldiers with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division May 11 as the "Dagger" Brigade welcomed a new senior noncommissioned officer and bid farewell to a man who has guided the Soldiers of Fort Riley for more than six years.
Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin accepted the NCO Sword and the responsibilities that come with the title Dagger 7 from Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Lewis during a ceremony conducted on Custer Hill Parade Field. Gilpin, who comes to the Dagger Brigade team from an assignment with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., said he is looking forward to serving beside the Soldiers, leaders and Families of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley.
"I am honored to stand alongside great warriors and to wear the 'Big Red One' (patch) as a member of the Dagger Brigade," he said.
Lewis, who has called Fort Riley and the Big Red One home for about seven years, said although it will be difficult to say goodbye to the Central Flint Hills Region, he will do so knowing the brigade is in the skilled hands of Soldiers he has watched grow and thrive, even in the face of extreme challenges.
"It has been my honor to serve amongst your ranks," Lewis said, addressing the hundreds of Soldiers gathered on the field for the ceremony. "It is because of you that I get up every morning with a smile on my face and think, 'man I love my job.' You and your actions have made me proud. You are the heroes of our nation, and I am honored to have served at your side."
Dagger Brigade Commander Col. Paul Calvert told the audience that Lewis' commonsense approach to leadership helped him see his unit better than anyone else. Calvert also said the impact the senior NCO had on Big Red One formations, both in garrison and in combat, may never be fully understood.
"Your leadership has been decisive, in this brigade, in our division and on the installation," the colonel told Lewis. "You have positively touched thousands of lives through training, mentoring and coaching. You have been a sterling example for all our Soldiers."
Calvert, who is scheduled to change command at the beginning of June, offered his new senior NCO a warm welcome and challenged Gilpin to continue and build on the Dagger Brigade's long history of success.
"You will move this formation to new heights," Calvert said. "You will love serving in this division, and you will love serving at Fort Riley, Kan."