Story by Terrance Bell on 04/14/2017FORT LEE, Va. (April 13, 2017) -- The 832nd Ordnance Battalion has welcomed a familiar face to its top enlisted position.
Command Sgt. Maj. Dejarius O. Jones, who last served as an Ordnance School administrator, formally took on his new duties during a change of responsibility ceremony Friday at Whittington Field.
The 42-year-old Miami native replaced Birmingham, Ala., native CSM Garrick E. Griffin, who spent 24 months in the position. Jones comes to the battalion from the Wheel Maintenance Training Department where he served as its sergeant major.
Lt. Col. Timothy M. Gallagher, 832nd battalion commander and the ceremony's presiding official, said during remarks Jones has a reputation that precedes him, and it was evident during a lateral promotion ceremony hosted the day prior by Col. Sean P. Davis, the 59th Ord. Brigade commander.
"At that ceremony, he opened the floor to testimonials," said Gallagher. "From those who know CSM Jones best, from hearing everyone speak, it is my firm belief this battalion is in great hands. You have a tremendous reputation as a solid professional, coach and mentor."
Jones, who jokingly said Griffin urged him to keep his speech short, was indeed brief. He thanked his wife, Drucilla, and other family members, the leadership, friends, colleagues and others, and said he comes to his new position as a "humble servant leader ready to enforce standards and discipline."
The 45-year-old Griffin, an avid Alabama Crimson Tide fan known for his sense of humor, seemed anxious to seize the opportunity to generate a few chuckles during his remarks, speeding through the formalities to take this battle buddy-friendly shot at his battalion commander:
"It's been a great ride, sir, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to ride shotgun with you and as the garrison command sergeant major at Fort Knox (Ky.), I'll ensure we get you to the top of the housing list."
Laughter was heard from the crowd. Griffin and Gallagher are headed to Fort Knox for their follow-on assignments. Earlier, Griffin thanked a long list of people, including his wife, Earline, and all the others who supported him. He made special mention of his first sergeants whom he challenged to excellence as a way of preventing him from micro-managing their work and being the "best first sergeant in the battalion."
Gallagher, whom Griffin called the "smartest guy I know," was just as humorous at the podium as his outgoing senior enlisted advisor. He quipped he knows more about the state of Alabama as it was an ongoing subject of conversation with Griffin, including the closely held information a certain football game is the best opportunity to commit a crime in the state.
"I learned when the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn University Tigers compete in the Iron Bowl each year," he said, "the majority of law enforcement in the state of Alabama is focused on that game, making it the best day to commit a crime at least for 24 hours."
On a more serious note, Gallagher said Griffin was personable in powerful ways.
"Webster's dictionary defines impact as the striking of one thing against another, forceful contact, collision,'" he said. "I could think of no better word to describe the effect CSM Griffin has had upon the organization. The landscape is forever altered . Sergeant major, you can leave the field today knowing you have built a winning team that Sergeant Major Jones will take to the next level based on the solid foundation you have built."
Gallagher's change of command ceremony is scheduled for May 4.
The 832nd is one of two battalions here subordinate to the 59th Ord. Brigade. It is assigned more than 1,400 advanced individual training students.