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After two years as Maneuver Center of Excellence command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. James Carabello will leave Fort Benning after a change of responsibility ceremony March 21.
Despite numerous moves during the course of a career that began in 1985, Carabello said this move will be one of the toughest yet.
Its bittersweet, especially with this move, he said. Fort Benning is where everything started for me as a young private with one station unit training and as a member of the Ranger regiment. Everything that I am is what Fort Benning made me to be as an Infantryman, Soldier and NCO.
Fort Benning is a tremendous installation, from the leaders and Soldiers who are here to the amount of training that goes on on a daily basis. Ive been able to see the amount of activity that goes on and the professional development of our Soldiers. Seeing how that has come together really well over the last 18 or so months and how the community is really tied into the installation is just what the Army is about. Its going to be hard to leave that.
During his time at Fort Benning, Carabello helped oversee the reorganization of the MCoE into a more streamlined university model.
One thing Im very proud of the entire installation for is the transformation and reorganization that occurred and is still occurring, he said. Weve had the Armor and Infantry Schools come together and nested them with their training ... Its taken an extreme amount of effort from the leaders all over the installation to make that occur. Training has been streamlined and made much more realistic, so that when Soldiers leave here and go to the operational force, theyre more prepared for what theyll need to do when they do deploy for combat operations.
During that time, the command group also oversaw the development of the Maneuver Leader Development Strategies, which Carabello said has helped to enhance officer and NCO education at Fort Benning.
Our officer education is better than it has ever been because now we have officers and NCOs doing multiple training events and schooling together, so theyre getting a much more realistic picture of how those officer and NCO relationships are in the operational Army, he said. To have that here at Fort Benning and to allow people to get a first taste of that has a tremendous impact. Im so proud of all the leaders here because their impact is going to last for generations.
Carabello will cede responsibility to current Infantry School command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden, after which Carabello will assume a role with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
Im excited because JIEDDO is an organization that has global reach at the strategic levels, Carabello said. It deals with personnel that are terrorists and people that are determined to shed American blood and the blood of our partners. I know the organization is very attuned to what their mission is, and theyre very aggressive in what theyre doing, which is providing our Soldiers with the best equipment, training and tools available to defeat enemy forces that are using IEDs and other similar devices. Im excited because its going to be a new challenge Ill get to see a lot of our Soldiers all over the globe.
During his time at the MCoE, Carabello said he learned the value of lifelong learning, and encouraged all Soldiers to pursue education throughout their careers.
You have to continue to study, and stay abreast of whats going on not just in the Army, but with national and international trends, he said. You have to be very aware of how these issues are going to affect our Soldiers and Families, and how that potentially may translate into what we may do or how we may conduct operations around the world. The learning never stops. If youre not aggressive in that, its going to blow right by you and then youre not going to be as effective a leader as you could be.
Our Soldiers deserve the best leaders our Army can provide. Thats owed to them and their Families. Thats owed to the mothers and fathers who have sent their sons and daughters to us.
Finally, he said he wants Soldiers to constantly be prepared to seize opportunities that come their way, and to wear the Army uniform with pride.
Every time I feel Ive ever had a weak moment in my life, Ive always looked down at my right shoulder and seen that beautiful flag, and thats what our Army is all about, Carabello said. Its about becoming the best leader and Soldier you possibly can by seizing that opportunity to represent our nation on the battlefield. I think thats the greatest honor Ive ever had, just to represent my Family, our people and the American taxpayer as a professional American Soldier on the battlefield. Theres no greater honor than that.