Before he left Fort Stewart in May, 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. James Rainey called Command Sgt. Maj. Walter "Tag" Tagalicud the "best command sergeant major in the Army."
It’s not a label Tagalicud embraced after his own May 19 farewell to Fort Stewart.
But it’s not one he dismissed, either.
"I don’t claim to be the best command sergeant major in the Army, but I have to go back to the NCO creed," Tagalicud said. "The first part of it says, ‘No one is more professional than I. I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of soldiers.’ If I live up to that creed, it will guide me to be the best command sergeant major in the Army."
Now, Tagalicud will be living up to the NCO creed in Fort Lewis, Washington, as the command sergeant major of I Corps.
And he and his family will be missed, 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas said during the "relinquishment of responsibility" ceremony to mark Tagalicud’s moving on to another assignment.
"This entire division is better because of your leadership," Quintas said, running through a list of Tagalicud’s accomplishments in his 17 months with the 3rd ID. "On behalf of every dogface soldier and their family, I thank you."
Quintas also thanked Tagalicud’s wife, Carolyn, whose volunteer work in the community and on behalf of the 3rd ID’s families was an embodiment of selflessness and dedication.
The Tagalicud’s made a difference, Quintas said.
"Their efforts have made a lasting impact on dog face soldiers and their families," he said. "Now their ability and contributions will reach across an entire corps. And no one is better qualified or more capable to fill this position than they."
Tagalicud said he was "humbled to have been command sergeant major and proud of your performance," during the ceremony, noting "today is not about me, it’s about the 3rd Infantry Division and the colors that represent the soldiers, NCOs and officers in the division. It’s an honor to serve in the 3rd ID and a privilege to be dogface soldier."
He thanked his driver, his clerk and others, including operations Sgt. Maj. Steve Cisneros.
After the ceremony, Tagalicud said he’s served on approximately a dozen installations and "in just about every division in the 18th Airborne Corps. This is a great division because of the legacy that it continues to build upon."
"I’m going to miss the location in itself, and the relationships with people we’ve gained here in the last 17 months are going to be irreplaceable."
As for young soldiers just starting out, Tagalicud said the key is to learn.
"I’d tell them to be patient, to master the fundamentals at their level, and continue to learn and grow and listen to the leadership that’s placed over them to teach them," he said. "It takes more than one day to learn a job, it takes years to grow, but once you accomplish level one, then learn level two, make that investment in the time you serve, and if you just do that you’ll be rewarded with promotions and positions of leadership along the way."