Story by David Poe on 09/16/2019With more than 30 years of service, Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Holschbach, the outgoing U.S. Army Garrison Fort Bliss CSM, who joined the Army as a 21E Heavy Equipment Operator, passed responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. James Brasher, an 11B Infantryman, during the unit's change of responsibility ceremony on East Fort Bliss, Sept. 11.
Soldiers and civilians from across the garrison command and Team Bliss were in attendance, as well as partners from El Paso and the Borderland.
USAG Fort Bliss is composed of 15 directorates that support the installation's Strategic Deployment Platform mission, enabling rapid and efficient deployment and redeployment of America's forces. Also, as the home of the 1st Armored Division and several other large-scale and highly-specialized units, the garrison is responsible for services and facilities for the approximately 30,000 troops stationed here and their families.
In his remarks, a laudatory Holschbach said he was appreciative of his many "battle buddies" in attendance at the ceremony for their teamwork since he assumed responsibility in 2017.
"It was great working with you and building great relationships," he said during his remarks. "You've been a bunch of great people to work with and with each new group, it gets that much better, so thank you."
Col. Stu James, the garrison commander, said being the senior noncommissioned officer of a multi-faceted organization like USAG Fort Bliss requires a CSM of many hats.
"Sergeant Major Holschbach has remained 'on task' handling a multitude of issues, giving me the maneuver space to focus on my 'blind spots,'" James said, who has been the garrison commander since July, "As a new commander, I couldn't ask for anything more. He's had a significant impact across the installation."
James said that because of the experience it takes to become a command sergeant major, changes of responsibility, while vital, usually occur with predictability, but that wasn't the case at USAG Fort Bliss.
"This position is unique because you don't have any Soldiers from your former MOS in the formation, unless you hail from the mighty Chaplain Corps or the JAG Corps," said James. "In a typical Army command, the sergeant major is the most knowledgeable Soldier in the formation a large portion of the unit usually holds the same MOS that the sergeant major once held. I'd say this change of responsibility is a little different than most because the garrison sergeant major is entering a new, and somewhat foreign operational environment."
Holschbach said he wasn't sure how to prepare for being the CSM of a complex group of people and missions like USAG Fort Bliss, but was able to figure it out along the way.
"In all previous jobs, Soldiers did what you told them because position and rank required them to this job is quite different," Holschbach said. "I've really had to leverage the softer skills of communication and create a 'coalition of the willing' to be effective.
"Our job is to support our teams that support our Soldiers and families, and members of the military community that give us structure," he said. "Our goal is to maintain a steady state that creates as many efficiencies as we can in the services we support."
So, whether it was a heavy equipment operator, or now an infantry Soldier, James said staunch leadership is the MOS for the garrison sergeant major and James said he looked forward to serving alongside his unit's newest senior enlisted advisor.
"This assignment will test the sergeant major's flexibility and ability to adapt to a new operational environment, where the need to influence and build teams 'is' the critical skill set. Sergeant Major Holschbach has done a remarkable job meeting this challenge and I know Sergeant Major Brasher will rapidly adapt to meet this challenge as well."