Story by Amy Perry on 01/19/2017FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 19, 2017) -- The top enlisted billet at the Fort Lee garrison was placed in new hands Tuesday during a change of responsibility ceremony at the Lee Club.
Command Sgt. Maj. Vittorio F. DeSouza, incoming garrison command sergeant major, replaced CSM Clarence D. Richardson, who is set to retire later this year. Col. Adam W. Butler, garrison commander, oversaw the ceremony.
Butler recognized the instrumental role Richardson played as the garrison CSM.
"It is truly a team effort in command," he said. "When I think of my teammate, CSM Richardson is that hall of fame point guard. I say hall of fame, because everyone knows if you're in the (hall), that means you performed at a high level, for a long time. On our team he didn't turn the ball over under duress. Sergeant major always supported the deputy and myself, as well as all of the directors."
His support never wavered, said Butler, and he often fell back to one of his previous leadership roles leading new Soldiers.
"Despite the occasional drill instructor stare you get, and I've gotten that stare myself when (Richardson) spotted something out of place or someone said something wrong he really cares in the best way possible," Butler said. "This senior leader unquestionably cares about Soldiers, civilians and family members more than anything in the world except for maybe his beloved Miami Dolphins, which I don't necessarily understand."
Richardson thanked his family, friends and the rest of Team Lee for attending the ceremony and said he appreciated the chance to serve as garrison CSM.
"It's been a great honor and pleasure to serve as your garrison sergeant major," he said. "It's definitely a bittersweet moment for me today because my time is up serving a great group of professionals at this installation. It's sweet because I know I leave you in good hands with Sgt. Maj. DeSouza."
Being garrison CSM was a tough job, said Richardson, but one where he learned a lot.
"If I had not lived this dream, I would have never known what servicing an installation was truly about," he said. "And now, as I passed the colors to the new CSM, I can exhale and go country and say woooo-ie.' It was a lot of work.
"But if I was given the opportunity to rewind, and to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing," continued Richardson. "I've learned so much from every aspect of this position and concluded with success in all tasks given. The success wasn't due to anything special I did, but because of the tremendous support I received, internally and externally."
After saying farewell to Richardson, Butler turned to welcome his new battle buddy.
"While it's a bittersweet day, I know it's good," he said. "We are fortunate to welcome my new right arm to the team CSM Vittorio DeSouza. I'm looking forward to his continued service, partnership and most importantly, his contributions to Team Lee."
DeSouza said he's excited to get started in his new position.
"It's such an honor and privilege to be selected to serve as the garrison CSM," he said. "I'm looking forward to being part of the team and continuing to provide outstanding support to military members, family members, civilians, retirees and others that use this installation."