Thompson retires, Cherry assumes responsibility of 311th Signal Command

| February 1, 2013 | 0 Comments
Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Williams (right), senior enlisted leader, 9th Sig. Cmd., passes the noncommissioned officer's sword to Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Cherry, incoming senior enlisted leader, 311th Sig. Cmd., symbolizing his new responsibility as leader of troops, during a command change of responsibility ceremony on Palm Circle, Friday.

Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Williams (right), senior enlisted leader, 9th Sig. Cmd., passes the noncommissioned officer’s sword to Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Cherry, incoming senior enlisted leader, 311th Sig. Cmd., symbolizing his new responsibility as leader of troops, during a command change of responsibility ceremony on Palm Circle, Friday.

Story and photo by Crista Mack
311th Signal Command (Theater) Public Affairs

Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Thompson officially relinquished responsibility of the 311th Signal Command (Theater) to Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Cherry, who became the senior enlisted leader at historic Palm Circle, here, Friday.

In keeping with Signal Corps tradition, the official ceremony was conducted silently via semaphore flag communications.

The red and white flags are the historic original form of battlefield communications and can direct entire troop movements silently. More recently, the flags have been used in present-day ceremonies as a formal honor to Signal heritage.

Following the official passing of the sword, a tradition signifying passing of responsibility, an official retirement ceremony honored and bade farewell to Thompson, who served the U.S. Army with 32 years of dedicated service.

“When a Soldier serves his country more than 30 years, he generally serves because of his passion and commitment to defend that idea that we call freedom,” said keynote speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Williams, Network Enterprise Command senior enlisted leader, 9th Sig. Cmd. “While it takes a unit to get the job done, every unit needs a strong noncommissioned officer — one that enforces standards, instills values and discipline; one that ensures the command climate is conducive for leaders, Soldiers, civilian and team development.

“That NCO must also help shape goals and conditions of the commander’s vision to become a reality, and since January 2010, Thompson has been that noncommissioned officer,” he said.

Williams also spoke of his confidence in Cherry’s ability to carry the torch as the senior NCO of the command.

“As he takes the reigns of this organization, rest assured that he’s the right Soldier at the right time for this enormous responsibility,” said Williams. “I am confident that Command Sgt. Maj. Cherry will hit the ground running; you will feel his presence on day one.”

Cherry’s assignment with the 311th comes after a successful two-year tour as the senior enlisted leader for the 516th Signal Brigade, a direct reporting unit of the 311th. Headquartered at Fort Shafter, the 516th is the most geographically dispersed Signal Brigade in the U.S. Army. Now, as the 311th senior enlisted leader, his assignment grows to include and encompass all Signal units of the Pacific.

“I’m honored to be part of the 311th team today, and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Cherry.

After the change of responsibility ceremony, the departing Thompson was honored with an official retirement and flag folding ceremony.

“Remember, that knowledge you gain is not solely yours to keep but yours to pass on,” said Thompson.”

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