Winn Army Community Hospital has a new command sergeant major.
Command Sgt. Jeffrey L. Bridges assumed responsibility Tuesday morning as the senior enlisted leader for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield’s Medical Department Activity Command during a formal ceremony at Marne Garden.
Prior to the change of responsibility ceremony, outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph L. Cecil was recognized by Winn ACH and MEDDAC Commander, Col. Kirk W. Eggleston.
Eggleston presented Cecil’s wife, Julie Stoner, with the “Commander’s Award for Public Service” for her service as a volunteer from 2012 to 2014 at Winn ACH. Cecil was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership during his 29 months as Winn’s command sergeant major.
Following the awards presentations, Eggleston, Cecil and Bridges marched to within a few steps of another Winn sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Santiago, who stood centered on the colors. A sword representing the authority of the command sergeant major was brought to Santiago who in turn presented it to its former custodian, Cecil.
Cecil then presented it to Eggleston, signifying he was relinquishing responsibility for the unit’s enlisted soldiers back to the commander. Eggleston then presented the sword to its new custodian, Bridges.
Before returning the sword to Santiago, Bridges completed one more part of the ceremony. He pulled the sword a few inches from its scabbard then slammed it shut. Bridges is now responsible for the good order and discipline of the soldiers in his care.
“Change is constant in everything we do,” Eggleston said. “I’m reminded though there are some things that do not change. First of all, it’s the competence of our (noncommissioned) officers… The backbone of the Army is still strong.”
Eggleston praised Cecil for his leadership skills in supervising soldiers, challenging them to achieve. In those times when a soldier fell, he said Cecil was there to pick him or her up and dust him off then encourage him to try again. For those soldiers who didn’t care to succeed, who didn’t care to be soldiers at all, he said Cecil was the kind of leader to make it possible for them to get out of the Army and provide them the opportunity to become successful civilians.
During his comments, Bridges said he hopes to make a difference in his new assignment. He called Cecil a true professional and wished him and his wife success in their new assignment in Hawaii. Bridges enlisted in the Army in 1988 as a medical specialist. Among numerous military awards, he holds a bachelor of science and master of science in healthcare management from Trident University.
Cecil also began his military career in 1988 as a medical logistics specialist. He is leaving Stewart-Hunter for a new assignment with the Pacific Army Regional Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center at Fort Shafner, Hawaii.
“It’s hard to leave,” Cecil said. “It’s bittersweet. I’ve made a lot of good friends. I’ve got a lot of good soldiers, civilians and contractors who’ve been taking care of the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield population. It means a lot to be able to take care of soldiers and their family member, so it’s hard to leave. The thing I’ll miss the most is the Hinesville community. They really made us feel welcome.”