VICENZA, Italy – Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin assumed the position of U.S. Army Africa’s senior noncommissioned officer during a change of responsibility ceremony Friday at Caserma Ederle’s Hoekstra Field.
Despite frigid temperatures, the ceremony was an opportunity for soldiers, family and friends to welcome Gilpin and his family into the Vicenza military community.
Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, the USARAF commanding general, presided over the ceremony. Williams welcomed ceremony attendees and gave kudos to outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Stitzel.
“During his time here, Stitzel has been a great coach, mentor and leader, as well as a close and valued adviser to me,” Williams said.
“He traveled with me to many countries on the African continent, where we helped partners understand the USARAF mission and cement relationships for future training opportunities.
“Perhaps the most challenging trip we made together was to Liberia to support the great people of that nation in their valiant battle against Ebola,” Williams added.
Williams said the challenges of working in Africa are complex and never-ending, and success at USARAF is only possible with a team of flexible, quick-thinking professionals.
He added that this command demands a command sergeant major who can see challenges as opportunities.
“Stitzel has been that man,” Williams said.
“Today isn’t about saying goodbye,” Williams added.
“We are welcoming Command Sgt. Maj. Gilpin and his family to the Vicenza military community.”
Gilpin’s most recent assignment was as command sergeant major of the 3rd Infantry Division on Fort Stewart.
He has also recently returned from a 12-month deployment in Afghanistan.
“I look forward to working with Sgt. Maj. Gilpin,” Williams said.
“In my opinion, one of the greatest strengths in our military is the vast capability we gain by working in different units, countries and cultures,” Williams said.
“Each time we move, we gain unique experiences, and we take these with us,” he added.
Gilpin emigrated from Jamaica after high school and has more than 29 years in the Army.
Gilpin enlisted in the Army in 1986 and attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning. Since then, he served as an infantryman in every leadership position from team leader to command sergeant major.
His duty assignments and deployments include Fort Hood, Fort Stewart, Vermont, Korea, Fort Bragg, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Riley, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.