By Sgt. James Bunn
19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
The 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) said farewell to two of senior leaders and welcomed two new leaders during a change-of-responsibility and change-of-command ceremony at Camp Williams, Utah, Sept. 14, 2019. The ceremony began with Command Sgt. Maj. John Belford relinquishing his responsibilities as the senior enlisted noncommissioned officer to Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Legler.
Belford retired from service after 41 years of service. While serving as the 19th SFG (A) command sergeant major, he travelled regularly to Utah from Ohio to fulfil his responsibilities.
“If you didn’t know, Command Sergeant Major Belford is a full time police chief in Ohio,” said Legler. “I’ve known his schedule for the last couple of years and I can tell you he gives 100 percent to both jobs. I know there’s big shoes to fill.”
Legler is already a well-known leader in the brigade. Belford said he is confident in Legler’s ability to lead the 19th SFG (A) as the senior NCO.
Following the change of responsibility, the group held the change of command ceremony, a time-honored tradition represented by the passing of the unit’s colors from one commander to another. Col. Larry Henry, the outgoing commander of 19th SFG (A) relinquished command to Col. Paul Peters.
Henry served as the group commander for three years.
“To the officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the 19th SF Group, it has been an honor to serve beside you,” said Henry. “I think Ronald Reagan was correct when he stated, ‘above all we must realize that no arsenal and no weapon of the arsenals in the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world don’t have. It is a weapon we as Americans do have.’ Less than 1 percent of our nation serves and it has been an honor to be one.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton, adjutant general, Utah National Guard, said Henry’s ethics were above reproach, and had the most integrity of anyone he knew.
For Henry, commanding the unit was more than a job; it was a privilege. He stated that commanding the unit was a true honor for him and won’t forget his time serving as the commander of the 19th SFG (A).
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