STUTTGART, Germany — Army Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Sekelsky assumed responsibility as the senior enlisted leader for Special Operations Command Europe July 28 during a ceremony on Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany.
Sekelsky relieves Command Master Chief Troy Ivie in traditional military custom by passing the noncommissioned officer sword. Ivie's transition of repsonsibilty and authority was passed on to Sekelsky to provide watch and care of the command's sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines.
Army Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, SOCEUR commander, expressed his emotions concerning the time honored tradition of saying good bye to one battle-hardened senior enlisted leader and welcoming another.
“When we trained the Eastern European armies in the 90’s, it was obvious to them they lacked a viable NCO corps,” Repass said. “They quickly realized that was the magic behind the American armed forces. When we built the Iraqis’ counter terrorism units, we started by building a cadre of NCOs. The truth is, the key to a high performing Special Operations unit is a solid and experienced NCO corps.”
Repass went on to greet the new senior enlisted leader and offer his praise.
"We welcome an equally capable and highly competent replacement. I have known Sekelsky for a number of years, and he has impressed me from the start," Repass welcomed the new command sergeant major. "He is also one of our most combat experienced leaders. Chuck is one of those rare breeds who has seen and done it all. I look forward to working with him over the next three years.”
Sekelsky moves into his new position from the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School where he was the command sergeant major.
“To the men and women of the SOCEUR team, I look forward to working with all of you as we chart our course in the coming years,” Sekelsky said. “As we continue our operations, I ask that you keep a few things in mind. Never forget the sacrifices of those who gone before us, from that day on 9/11 to all of our SOCEUR warriors who have died in Afghanistan and other locations. Let their sacrifices serve as continuous reminder; never forget.”
Ivie, who served as the SOCEUR Senior Enlisted Leader since June 2007, is departing to Iraq where he will next serve as the senior enlister advisor for Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command-Iraq.
Addressing the service members for the final time, Ivie thanked many by name for their contributions to the command and for making his tenure at SOCEUR memorable.
“In the end, my farewell today is one of mixed feelings and emotions, associated with the people I’m leaving behind,” Ivie said. “I am compelled to express my heartfelt appreciation and emotions to the people of this great command. After all, it is all about the people. It’s the people that make our lives and our jobs the best they can be. This is truly the world of Special Operations.”
Of his outgoing top enlisted aide, Repass said, “You were a breath of fresh air and restored viable and respected leadership to both the position and the joint NCO community. Equally important, you were immediately effective as the senior NCO in the special operations community – the right man at the right time. You have made a difference, to be sure. Thanks for your service to SOCEUR.”