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Fort Stewart fixture honored before move to Virginia
Andrews says goodbye to Berhane
3rd Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews says goodbye to outgoing 2nd Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Berhane. Berhane is leaving Fort Stewart to become the garrison command sergeant major at Fort Belvoir, Va. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
The rainclouds didn’t keep soldiers from gathering at Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden on Thursday to bid farewell to one of the 3rd Infantry Division’s long-time leaders.
Several officers and non-commissioned officers from the division and various brigades filed in to bid farewell to Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Berhane, the brigade’s outgoing command sergeant major, and to congratulate the brigade’s new CSM, Valmond Martin.
The exchange took place in a change of responsibility ceremony for the brigade early Thursday.
“Today we say goodbye to a man who has served more time in combat with the 3rd ID than leaders such as Audie Murphy,” 2nd Brigade Col. Charles Sexton said while speaking of his comrade.
“More than 50,000 soldiers have passed [through this division] that you have mentored and more than 150,000 family members have been touched by your care. I will truly miss you.”
Berhane and Sexton have served next to one another since the brigade returned from Iraq six months ago.
Prior to that, Berhane served side-by-side with his former 2nd Brigade commander, Col. Terry Ferrell.
Ferrell, who is now the division’s chief of staff, served two non-consecutive tours in Iraq with Berhane and said he considers him his closest friend.
“He is the truest professional that I ever had. He knows how to take care of soldiers and his number one priority is taking care of soldiers,” the colonel said. "He’s a war-fighter … and he is always there. There is not a better, more focused individual in our Army today … be it deployed, be it here, or be it on the battlefield.”
According to his superior officers, Berhane has served nearly 14 of his 26 years enlisted in the Army at Fort Stewart, in almost every leadership position available to him.
He is leaving at the end to serve as the garrison command sergeant major in Fort Belvoir, Va.
Prior to the ceremony, the division’s CSM Jesse Andrews used Berhane’s military success as a testament for young soldiers.
“People that will want to say the system does not work, I beg to differ. We can attest to that,” he said pointing to Berhane. “The system works,” he said. “You just have to go out there and get it. Hoo’ah.”
After Berhane thanked the division for its support, Martin spoke to his new soldiers about his plans to uphold Berhane’s legacy.
“I am looking forward to working with you, for you and speaking in one voice,” Martin said. “The bar has been set exceptionally high, and I will live up to your expectations.”

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