FORT GORDON


Dragon Brigade welcomes new top enlisted Soldier

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Story by Terrance Bell on 12/06/2017
FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 6, 2017) -- The Fort Lee community welcomed a new command sergeant major to its ranks during a change of responsibility ceremony Friday at MacLaughlin Fitness Center.

CSM Lisa M. Haney accepted the reins of noncommissioned leadership for the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade, replacing CSM James A. Thomas.

Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley Jr., CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, and CSM Nathaniel Bartee, CASCOM CSM, topped a long list of military and civilian dignitaries present for the event.

Col. Gregory S. Townsend, 23rd QM Bde. commander, officiated the ceremony.

Townsend, who took over as commander in August, said during his remarks the new CSM brings to the initial entry training environment a multitude of successes "across a range of logistics leadership positions."

Haney's boots-on-the-ground competence, he noted, was further substantiated by a fellow officer who was intimately familiar with her work and with whom he served years ago in the 82nd Airborne Division.

"When he found out she was headed in our direction, he shot me a personal note, and it simply stated, You're about to get an awesome command sergeant major. Lisa Haney is the absolute best,'" he said.

During remarks, Haney thanked her parents, battle buddies and kids for helping her realize the dream of serving. After the ceremony, the Chicago native appeared upbeat about the opportunity before her.

"To be honest, I'm excited," said the 26-year Soldier with a beaming expression. "I'm honored to be here. This is a privilege. I started my AIT training here in 1991, so to come back as a brigade command sergeant major to all of these Soldiers is an honor."

Haney comes to the Dragon Brigade following a stint as the CSM, 299th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. The automated logistical specialist has completed four deployments.

Speaking about Thomas, Townsend ran down a long list of leadership examples at which the CSM competently equipped himself. The CSM's work is not yet fully realized, he added.

"You often speak of leaving a legacy," he said to Thomas, "and I want to reassure you that you have. Your leadership legacy will remain in the form of the platoon sergeants, first sergeants and battalion command sergeants major you have led and mentored.

"I would offer that it also remains with those of us in the officer corps smart enough to listen to your wisdom and absorb and implement it."

Thomas, a native of Georgia, offered few words at the podium. He recognized the troops standing before him in formation and the Soldiers and civilians of the brigade and Quartermaster School who are integral to the mission. Holding true to past sentiments, however, Thomas focused on soldiering and the various aspects of duty.

"As leaders, remember why you serve," he said, elevating his voice in intensity, "ensuring the focus is forever and always on making the organization better than you found it along with remembering that it is not about you but about the Soldiers you serve.

"As a leader, the first time you forget while you serve and make it about you, you stop leading and training Soldiers."

Thomas, a unit supply specialist, picked up plenty of experience leading and training Soldiers over the course of the last 30 years. He has served as a CSM at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., and with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

Additionally, Thomas held positions as the operations SGM at 82nd Sustainment Brigade, Fort Bragg; senior enlisted advisor to the J4 Special Operations Command Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii; and first sergeant with the 116th Military Intelligence Group, Fort Gordon, Ga.
Thomas, not known to be long-winded, shared this notion of leadership near the close of his remarks:

"Soldiers walk away from an organization with two things they will always remember those leaders they want to emulate and those they don't want to be anything like.

"I hope although hope is not a method nor course of action that I've left something Soldiers want to emulate."

Thomas whose wife, Chanita, and daughter, Veronique, were at the ceremony took over his CSM responsibilities in February 2016. He is scheduled to retire early next year and said he is undecided about his future endeavors.

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