Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell was sworn in as the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today during a change of responsibility ceremony hosted by the chairman, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
The event took place at Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Northern Virginia. It included a ceremony honoring outgoing SEAC Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, who's scheduled to retire in April 2016 after nearly 36 years of service.
Presenting the flag to Battaglia was former chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Dunford's predecessor and the one who chose Battaglia as his SEAC.
In the audience were Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea, and other mentors, friends and family members of Battaglia and Troxell.
When Dunford spoke he thanked Battaglia for all he has done on behalf of the nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and their families.
“Sergeant Major Battaglia, you're a leader, you're a warrior and you're a man of character,” the Dunford said.
“Today, as you complete your active service you have what every leader would want to have,” Dunford added. “You have the admiration, the appreciation and the affection of your fellow Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen -- and that includes the Dunford family.”
On Troxell’s assumption of the role of SEAC, Dunford said the department is welcoming another leader with an extraordinary record of service.
Three weeks ago a reporter asked Dunford about the criteria for selecting Battaglia's replacement.
“I said it's pretty straightforward. I looked for somebody with a wide range of experience and a proven track record as a leader, a teacher, a mentor and a warrior,” Dunford explained.
He looked for someone who could stand before soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and inspire confidence, and someone enlisted men and women would be proud to have represent them.
“I was looking for someone who'd provide advice with candor,” Dunford added. “And to be honest with you, I was looking for someone exactly like Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell.”
In his remarks, Dempsey, who retired in September and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, thanked Dunford for being the current chairman and the senior military leader of the armed forces.
“I didn't think [the job] could get any more complicated,” Dempsey said. “And then I left and I looked back and I said, 'Wow, it just got a little more complicated.' But you're the right man in the right place.”
About Battaglia, Dempsey said that for the last four years of Battaglia's career, "he was my confidant and my advisor. But he was also … the lead scout for the joint force, he was the champion of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, he was the coach of the senior enlisted leaders of our services, and he was the mentor of the senior enlisted leaders of our combatant commands."
Dempsey also mentioned the work of Army Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Gainey, the first senior enlisted advisor to the chairman, who served under then-chairman Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace.
“Gainey was the groundbreaker. He was the man who set the parameters, and we've all been working to sustain the office and to continue to make it relevant,” the former chairman said. “I know that Sgt. Maj. Battaglia did that and Sgt. Maj. Troxell will do it as well.”
In his remarks, Troxell thanked Dunford for having confidence enough to make him SEAC.
“I do not take my duties lightly and will work tirelessly day in and day out to influence the entire joint enlisted force to assist in making your focus areas come to fruition,” Troxell said, “and to provide you and the secretary of defense my best military advice regarding our service members, families, civilians and veterans.”
To the service senior enlisted advisors and combatant command senior enlisted leaders, Troxell said he looks forward to serving with them and building a synergistic relationship based on “shared understanding, respect and trust as we aim to provide training, education, experiences and opportunities for our joint enlisted force.”
Troxell also thanked wounded warriors and Gold Star families for their service and sacrifice. “You are definitely our country’s treasures,” he said.
Battaglia thanked the many mentors that have helped and shaped him across his career as a Marine, and he thanked Dunford, noting that they first crossed paths as Captain Dunford and Corporal Battaglia.
When Dunford became chairman, Battaglia said, he took on tough military issues “that could have been set aside for someone else to tackle, but bravely made bold and righteous decisions to take them on with the Joint Chiefs and orchestrate worthwhile and sensible solutions.”
Battaglia also thanked Dempsey for “having the trust in my abilities to make my small contribution and its value to the force.”
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)