Story by Patrick Buffett on 04/20/2017FORT LEE, Va. (April 20, 2017) -- Command Sgt. Maj. Sean J. Rice became the 13th Regimental CSM of the Quartermaster Corps during a change of responsibility ceremony Friday in the Lee Club.
The Aurora, Colo., native is just a few months shy of his 29th year in the Army. Positions of leadership listed in Rice's bio include everything from drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga., to observer coach/trainer at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La. He has served with the Special Operations Command in Hawaii and the 82nd Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was the senior enlisted leader for CASCOM's Capabilities, Development and Integration Directorate prior to assuming the RCSM position.
Brig. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, Quartermaster General, presided over the ceremony in which the corps' regimental flag was passed from outgoing RCSM, Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, to Rice. In follow-on remarks, Fogg cited the often-used expression, "NCOs are the backbone of the Army," and put it into context with an anatomical explanation.
"The backbone is both strong and flexible, providing protection and freedom of movement," Fogg observed. "It is the supporting structure for the upper body and head. It holds the spinal cord, allowing the brain to talk to the body. It is the pillar from which the ribs extend around the chest cavity to protect important organs like the heart and lungs.
"Bottom line, our bodies cannot function normally or survive long-term without the backbone," he summarized, "and (the Army) can't function or survive without the great NCOs who connect everything together while providing support, movement and protection. When you think about it from that perspective, it is quite impressive."
Accomplished enlisted leaders like Sellers, Fogg observed, deserve to be celebrated for their painstaking efforts to protect and professionally develop Soldiers while serving as steadfast pillars of support.
"There is no question about CSM Sellers' influence on our corps," Fogg said. "His ability to think strategically, and to help me do the same, has been invaluable. He is a problem solver for the QM field, CASCOM and the Army. He has worked to improve the digital rucksack of our Soldiers. He has added rigor to our NCO program of instruction. He has championed physical readiness and master fitness training. He has improved promotions for our star (military occupational specialties). It is for these reasons, I'm sure, he was selected for his next job (as the commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas)."
Sellers' influence on the corps was enhanced by a robust communications effort, according to Fogg. He maintained a Facebook page with over 3,000 followers. He published Army Career Tracker news notes that reached many more thousands of Soldiers. He provided monthly "health of the corps" briefings to Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy classes and attended their icebreakers to interact with incoming students.
"He is a leader of vision," Fogg said. "He is a leader who cares for troops and families. He eagerly shares his personal time, day or night, because he's all about ensuring the success of subordinate NCOs and Soldiers."
Saying he will greatly miss his battle buddy, Fogg turned the audience's attention to the incoming CSM, noting the "Army got it right, once again."
"Through a great selection process, another outstanding, highly experienced NCO is here to lead the mighty QM Corps, and we couldn't be happier," Fogg said. "Looking at CSM Rice's bio in the program, you'll see he has the right credentials to assume this position. Leadership, staff jobs, deployments, recent operational experience he has the perspectives necessary to hit the ground running and bring to the schoolhouse and our Soldiers exactly what is needed. He is indeed the right person at the right time to serve as the 13th Regimental Command Sergeant Major. He will excel because that's what he does best. There is no doubt in my mind that CSM Rice will take our corps and the Army to new heights."
In parting remarks, Sellers summed up his time at Fort Lee with a single word spectacular. Thanking numerous "game-changing" individuals in the audience, he said the successes he achieved as RCSM were inextricably linked to the "exceptional officers, warrant officers, NCOs, Soldiers and civilians" around him.
"A good example of this occurred when I first arrived at the (QM) school," he recalled.
"TRADOC had just authorized (advanced individual training) instructors to earn the right to wear the instructor badge. With that announcement, the collective team of sergeants major took up an initiative to ensure our instructors would become the best trained and qualified NCOs the Army had to offer.
"We codified an enduring strategy that enabled them to train, educate, certify and maintain instructor and MOS proficiency," Sellers continued. "This strategy required a decision, albeit unpopular at the time, to remove unofficial badges from uniforms until those on the platform earned the coveted Army Basic, Senior or Master Instructor Badge. The move was revolutionary and a driving force behind changing our culture. I believe it continues to produce quality individuals who are fit, disciplined and well-trained professionals who embody our Army's Values. The instructors on our platforms today are prepared to assume their roles of leadership throughout the corps."
The QM School has more professionally trained and certified instructors than any of the other 17 TRADOC learning institutions, Sellers proudly stated. During his tenure, nearly 300 qualification badges have been awarded. "I am very proud of each and every instructor, AIT platoon sergeant and first sergeant," he said. "Your hard work and contributions to our corps have been game changing, and I thank you."
Sellers offered the following words of encouragement to Rice.
"Continue to evolve and develop a culture of sustainable readiness," he said. "It is imperative to search for ways to prepare NCOs and Soldiers to be multi-dimensional sustainers who can handle the many challenges of operating in a complex and ever-changing world. Create a positive and influential environment. You have inherited a great team of professionals. They will take care of you if you take care of them."
Rice thanked Sellers for "setting the blueprint" of success, and acknowledged the significance of being selected as the QM Corps' senior enlisted leader.
"I am humbled and honored by this opportunity," he said, "and I am ready to assume the mantle of leadership, with the expectation of raising the bar even higher. I am committed and focused on the task of developing combat ready logisticians who are relevant today in their formation and ready to fight day or night."