The sword of responsibility has been passed, and the Vanguards of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, have a new senior enlisted leader.
The transition was made to Command Sgt. Maj. Brendan P. McIntyre in a formal change of responsibility ceremony Thursday at Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden.
Sgt. Maj. Jerold Pyle, the light-infantry brigade’s operations sergeant major, passed a gold-handled sword in its scabbard to Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Barnes, who in turn passed it to Col. Kimo Gallahue, the 4th IBCT commander, symbolically relinquishing his responsibility for the brigade’s 3,900 enlisted soldiers.
Gallahue then passed the sword and responsibility as senior enlisted soldier for the brigade to McIntyre as the new brigade command sergeant major. McIntyre slightly pulled the sword from its scabbard, and then snapped it back in place to signify that he was accepting responsibility as the Vanguard Brigade’s new enlisted leader.
“(Barnes) has been the epitome of a senior (noncommissioned officer),” Gallahue said after the ceremony. “I could not have asked for a better man.”
Gallahue thanked Barnes’ wife Patty for her support for the brigade and her husband. He then welcomed McIntyre and said he was “the right man for the right time.”
In his farewell to his old unit, Barnes thanked his commander and the soldiers he led as well as Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson, 3rd ID command sergeant major, for “mentoring” him. Lastly, he thanked his wife for being willing to raise two boys as a single mom through multiple deployments with the Marne Division. Barnes said he was gone 40 percent of the time.
He moves on to his new assignment as command sergeant major for the Kansas City Recruiting Battalion in Kansas City, Mo.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Navy family, Barnes began his military career in August 1985. His first assignment was with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He served 10 years on jump status in two tours with the 82nd Airborne Division. He also served with 25th Infantry Division, plus tours as a drill instructor and instructor at the XVIII Airborne Corps NCO Academy. Additionally, he served five combat tours, beginning with Desert Storm in 1991.
The recipient of two Bronze Stars, Barnes has a combat infantryman’s badge with star, and he’s earned the expert infantryman’s badge. He earned his master parachutist badge, drill-instruction identification badge and Pathfinder badge, and he’s a member of the exclusive Sergeant Murphy Club.
“I always wanted to jump out of airplanes,” he said, explaining why he joined the Army despite his family history with the Navy. “I never had a situation in 10 years of jumping that I couldn’t get up after I landed and continue on with the mission.”
Barnes said he hasn’t decided what he will do when he retires.
“I’m going to do my two years with the recruiting battalion, then I may sign on for one more year,” he said. “When I do retire, I plan to work my way back to the gulf coast where I grew up. I don’t know, really. Every day I change my mind. I’m going to go fishing as much as I can. I’d like to do some writing. Mostly, I’d like to spend the rest of my life with my wife, seeing and doing things together, things we couldn’t do because of my career.”
McIntyre thanked Gallahue for his confidence in him and Barnes for leaving him with a unit of outstanding soldiers, and he thanked the Vanguard soldiers attending the ceremony. McIntyre thanked his father — who came from Arizona to attend the ceremony — and told him he always has been an inspiration. He also thanked his youngest son Ben for being there and noted that it was his birthday and that he could probably think of better ways to spend his birthday than watch a military ceremony.
“Vanguard, you look great,” he told the soldiers standing in formation at parade rest. “I look forward to working with each of you.”