The Fort Bliss Noncommissioned Officer Academy changed leadership Aug. 15 as Command Sgt. Maj. Marion Arnett assumed the responsibility as the commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Forsyth during a change of responsibility ceremony held at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, USASMA’s deputy commandant, presided over the change of responsibility and gave remarks after the unit colors were passed between the outgoing and incoming NCO Academy commandants.
“Today we are changing out the guard of one of the most challenging positions that an NCO could ever serve,” Weygandt said. “This is a position where command sergeants major are asked to demonstrate their incredible resolve and fortitude and step well outside their comfort zone to perform command-like duties; something that is unfamiliar and quite frankly uncomfortable for an NCO.”
Weygandt said the Army only selects the best to fill a commandant position and that it did right selecting Forsyth to serve for the past 3 years and also did right in selecting Arnett as his replacement.
“The Army did well when they picked sergeant major Forsyth to serve in this position. He has held the torch of leadership for more than three years and has performed exceptionally well expanding the role of the NCO academy in so many ways,” he said. “His academy has served as the test bed for proponency-adaptive initiatives for the Warrior Leaders Course. This was critical in ensuring new curricula systems and outcomes were on point before USASMA released the final product to the Army. He has lived through the evolution of three different programs of instruction changes and is narrowly escaping the start of the next generation change. He even led the charge in earning the title of institution of excellence.”
In addressing Arnett and his family, Weygandt expressed the Army’s confidence in his ability to continue the path of excellence into the future.
“I am sure that the Army has got it right as we are looking forward to you picking up the reigns and continuing to strive for excellence in educating the next generation of NCO leadership for our Army,” he said. “Please take solace in knowing that you are coming into a great family and we are proud to have you as part of this great ULTIMA team.”
Following Weygandt’s comments, Forsyth and Arnett addressed the crowd.
“Six thousand two hundred and seventy nine students, 139 internationals, 37 months, 34 cycles, 33 Saturdays, 24 training holidays, 5 piloted concepts, three curriculum changes, two first sergeants, one triennial accreditation, and zero smoke breaks,” Forsyth said. “My assignment as the commandant has been fast, furious, and truly rewarding. I thank the dedication and devotion of all members of the NCOA both past and present. I attribute [the academy’s] success not to any one individual, but to the culminating efforts of all assigned.”
Arnett said that he wanted to keep things very short when addressing the crowd and thanked all for attending. He particularly thanked Forsyth for the easy transition of authority and that he understands he has big shoes to fill.
“I can’t do it by myself. It is not a one man or one woman thing to do,” he said. “I believe in one team one fight, and I am looking forward to moving forward and picking up where sergeant major Forsyth left off. I have two words for you – by example.”
Arnett comes to USASMA from an assignment with the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. Forsyth will transition to USASMA’s Directorate of Training as he prepares for his retirement after 31 years of service. Forsyth is also the longest serving commandant of the Fort Bliss NCO Academy.