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Rio earns appointment to command sergeant major

Rio earns appointment to command sergeant major

Story by Clemens Gaines on 08/29/2019

Command Sgt. Maj. David Rio, from Oolitic, Indiana, knelt down as his son Owen slipped on the shoulder boards that signify his father’s new position as a CSM.

Rio will become the senior enlisted advisor and work directly for the commander of the 303d Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in the fall. It is the second tour for the Rio family (wife Joanna with daughter Evelyn and Owen) in the Aloha State.

Studying nights and weekends, Rio completed a two-year distance learning curriculum to qualify as a CSM and also had to be selected for the position. “There was an emphasis on leadership, Army operations and joint service operations in the material,” said Rio.

As with many Army ceremonies, there is an emphasis on both history and responsibility. The rank of command sergeant major was created in 1967 in order to establish clarity between those sergeants major who acted as the commander’s eyes and ears, and those that served on a staff. The CSM is unique since that individual carries the responsibility as the principal advisor to a commander to carry out and enforce policies and standards on performance, training, appearance and conduct of the organization.

Rio was promoted to sergeant major, the highest enlisted rank, a year ago. During his more than two years with the 20th CBRNE Command, he served as the operations sergeant in the command section. “For the first time, I got to work with many Army civilians, and I came to appreciate their knowledge and continuity in the command since as Soldiers, we move a lot.”

Rio successfully orchestrated multiple large and complex events including two command Best Warrior Competitions. In this capacity, his planning and execution demonstrated leadership for other NCOs and attention to detail.

“In my new position, I will serve as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander. However, I will not lose contact with Soldiers and look forward to advising them during their careers,” he said.

The 18-year veteran wears the distinctive Master EOD badge and his awards and decorations include two Bronze Stars and several Meritorious Service Medals.

Rio knows Hawaii is a long way from Indiana. “My parents are excited about my being a CSM but will miss us.”

The ceremony was held in the headquarters lobby of Bldg. 2400 on Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood Area. It was the last ceremony in hundreds of promotion and farewell events, held here in the past 15 years, as the command prepares to complete its move to a new two-building complex on APG North in September.

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