Tradition continues 1AD torch of responsibility is passed from Kelley to Lehr

Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, 1st AD and Fort Bliss commanding general, conducts the final steps of the division change of responsibility between Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie R. Kelley and Command Sgt. Maj. Lance P. Lehr during a ceremony Tuesday at the 1st AD parade field on East Fort Bliss. Kelley, who commanded the division since February 2012, is departing Fort Bliss to assume his duties as the command sergeant major for Third Army/Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Photo by Sgt. Brandon A. Bednarek, DCSM Public Affairs.

Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, 1st AD and Fort Bliss commanding general, conducts the final steps of the division change of responsibility between Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie R. Kelley and Command Sgt. Maj. Lance P. Lehr during a ceremony Tuesday at the 1st AD parade field on East Fort Bliss. Kelley, who commanded the division since February 2012, is departing Fort Bliss to assume his duties as the command sergeant major for Third Army/Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Photos by Sgt. Brandon A. Bednarek, DCSM Public Affairs.

By Sgt. Brandon A. Bednarek, DCSM Public Affairs:

Forty-six years ago, Sgt. Maj. J.B. Moore forged a new role within the 1st Armored Division lineage when he became the first command sergeant major to assume responsibility of the Army’s “Old Ironsides” tank division.

Throughout the years the torch of responsibility has been passed among the Army’s finest noncommissioned officers, including Command Sergeants Major Jack L. Tilley and Kenneth O. Preston, both of who went on to serve as Sergeant Major of the Army. And though each possessed unique attributes, all embodied the values and character required of the command sergeant major.

The history and traditions of the 1st Armored Division command sergeant major continued Tuesday as Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland oversaw the change of responsibility between Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie R. Kelley and Command Sgt. Maj. Lance P. Lehr during a ceremony held at the 1st AD parade field across from the division headquarters on East Fort Bliss.

“There is a difference between commanding and leading and a command sergeant major, like all good NCOs, is a leader,” said MacFarland. “That means a good command sergeant major leads from the front and leads by example, which is exactly what Command Sergeant Major Kelley has done so brilliantly for this command.”

The balanced leadership and uncompromising dedication displayed by Kelley also inspired a return to standards at Fort Bliss, particularly through his mentorship and guidance of senior leaders, said MacFarland.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie R. Kelley, former division command sergeant major for 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, gives his final remarks as a member of the “Old Ironsides” Division Tuesday during a change of responsibility ceremony held at the 1st AD parade field on East Fort Bliss. Kelley relinquished command to Command Sgt. Maj. Lance P. Lehr, who is reporting for duty from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Photo by Sgt. Brandon A. Bednarek, DCSM Public Affairs.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie R. Kelley, former division command sergeant major for 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, gives his final remarks as a member of the “Old Ironsides” Division Tuesday during a change of responsibility ceremony held at the 1st AD parade field on East Fort Bliss. Kelley relinquished command to Command Sgt. Maj. Lance P. Lehr, who is reporting for duty from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. 

“He knew what right looked like and ensured that subordinate command sergeants major knew what was expected of them,” said MacFarland. “This is the difference between one who commands and one who leads.”

After nearly two years in command, Kelley, who first served in the division during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, is departing Fort Bliss en route to his next assignment as the CSM for Third Army/Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

“As a young sergeant serving in the 1st Armored Division back in 1990, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would serve as the division’s command sergeant major,” said Kelley, a native of Bryan, Texas. “It has truly been an honor and privilege.”

Kelley was quick to acknowledge that his success as a division command sergeant major had little to do with personal achievements; crediting his success instead to the command and staff sergeants major serving within the division.

In step with the tradition blazed by his predecessors, Kelley relinquished his responsibilities to Lehr, who brings a new set of experiences and skills to the position following his command at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“Command Sergeant Major Lehr has the perfect blend of leadership experience to take the reins from Command Sergeant Major Kelley and advance this division and this installation,” said MacFarland. “He has an incredibly diverse, balanced background training Soldiers in peace and in combat.”

“Our Soldiers deserve the very best leadership at every level,” said MacFarland. “He is the right man, at the right time, to build on his predecessor’s foundation and lead us through a demanding future.”

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