Utah National Guard’s 10th Senior Enlisted Leader retires

By Staff Sgt. Timothy Beery | Utah National Guard | Sept. 3, 2020

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah —

The Utah National Guard said ‘goodbye and best wishes’ to its senior enlisted leader and one of its most trusted caretakers Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in a celebratory retirement ceremony at Camp Williams. Following a distinguished career which spanned parts of five decades, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric W. Anderson is hanging up the boots.

Utah’s famed 640th Regimental Training Institute hosted the ceremony as Anderson retired following more than 31 years of service to the state of Utah and United States Army.

Put in perspective, when Anderson enlisted in 1989, President George H. W. Bush was finishing up his first year in office, Operation Desert Storm was still a year away, and the Berlin Wall had not yet come down.

“While I’m getting older, I have thoroughly enjoyed my service. It’s been the honor of my life to serve our country and our state,” said Anderson. “The best part about this is that we are leaving the Guard in great hands. We have great servant leaders in this organization. I truly have no worries about leaving, this is a great place to be.”

While Anderson makes claims to the contrary, he is actually still a young man. Having joined the National Guard at the age of 17, he has the rare opportunity to retire from a 31-year-career before his 50th birthday. Military service has been a constant in Anderson’s adult life and helped to forge the lives of those around him.

“We’ve built our world around this (military service),” said Anderson’s wife Britt.

“It’s kind of hard,” she continued emotionally, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Change is always tough, but this change is exciting. We are so very grateful. So grateful for the experiences and the relationships we’ve built. We are both so honored to be a part of something so great.”

Britt Anderson met her husband in the early 1990s when the two of them attended the same college. In the years since, they have welcomed four children into this world, while balancing the rigors and demands of a long career in the military. Throughout his career, Anderson has been well-known for his trademark intensity and stoicism. Over the past couple of months, Britt Anderson has noticed her husband beginning to decompress and adjust to a slower paced lifestyle.

“It’s been interesting seeing Eric kind of relax these past couple of months,” she said. “This morning when he put on the uniform, the sergeant major came back!” she laughed.

“It does feel good seeing him relax,” she said.

The Anderson family has left the hustle of Salt Lake City for a more relaxed setting in Central Utah where they are from. While Britt recognizes the difference in her husband’s intensity, the civilian Eric Anderson has no plans of slowing down.

“I have always been the type of person where I’ve loved every job I’ve been in just a little bit more than the last one,” he said. 

“I think it’s a state of mind where if you are positive in each position you serve and take excellence and motivation with you, you will be successful.”

Anderson will bring his motivation to the state of Utah where he has taken work as an emergency preparedness planner in three counties in the south central portion of the state.

“I’ll be busy, working for the state in a field that I feel passionately about,” he said. “Preparing our citizens is something I feel strongly about and I’m very excited.”

While he may be away from the Salt Lake Metro area, Anderson’s presence and influence remain a constant in the Utah National Guard.

“He has been a phenomenal example and mentor to me,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Spencer Nielsen, the senior enlisted leader for the Utah National Guard and the individual tasked with replacing Anderson.

“Not only has he shown me what ‘right’ looks like, but he is an excellent standard bearer for the entire NCO corps and it is an honor to follow him.”

“Any leader aspires to leave an organization better than we find it,” Nielsen continued.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Anderson has made our entire organization exponentially better. We are in a great place and we have a great team. I truly appreciate what he did. His priorities of lethality and readiness are things that will sustain and endure this organization for a very long time.”

Ever the stoic leader, Anderson’s final word to the Soldiers and Airmen of the Utah National Guard embodied the sentiment of Nielsen.

“Be excellent in what you do,” he said.

“Become a subject-matter expert. Learn from those around you, and never think you are above anyone else. We are all equal no matter your position or grade. If we all learn from each other and keep those values, we can all grow together and have successful careers.”

As Anderson’s days as a uniformed Soldier in the Utah National Guard are rapidly drawing to a close, his legacy is one that will echo his career.

Indelible, excellent and enduring.

 

 

 

An Airman assigned to Joint Task Force Pioneer cuts branches scattered by wind at the Kaysville City Cemetery during Operation Wind Debris, September 11, 2020. Members of the Utah Training Center, Utah National Guard, participated in the operation after Governor Gary Herbert activated the task force to respond to damage caused by windstorms earlier in the week.
Joint Task Force Pioneer helps Utahns clean up wind debris
By Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stowell | Sept. 17, 2020
Nearly 300 members of the Utah National Guard responded to an activation order to help clean up debris caused by windstorms in Northern Utah last week.

Lt. Col. Budd Vogrinec, commander of the 625th Military Police Battalion and Command Sgt. Maj. Garrett Whatcott unveil the guidon of their new unit during an activation ceremony at the Springville Readiness Center in Springville, Utah, Sept. 13, 2020. The 625th MP Battalion will support the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Utah National Guard.
From one battalion to another: the 489th cases its colors, while the 625th unveils
By Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stowell | Sept. 13, 2020
Members of the Utah National Guard who were part of the 489th Brigade Support Battalion became part of the 625th Military Police Battalion during a ceremony at the Springville Readiness Center, Sep. 13, 2020. Soldiers assigned to the 489th BSB stood in formation during the deactivation for their unit. The 489th BSB was activated into the Utah Army National Guard in 2008 whose primary mission was to give logistics support to its parent unit, the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

Gov. Gary R. Herbert applauds after presenting the Utah Medal of Valor to Sgt. Chasen Brown, a service member of the Utah National Guard, in the Gold Room at the Utah State Capitol on Sept 1, 2020.

Brown, a gunner for Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery, was attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct. 1, 2017. Shortly after the concert started, a man started shooting indiscriminately at the massive crowd. Without hesitation or regard to personal safety, Brown immediately started to render aid to the wounded personnel while under constant gunfire. His actions on that tragic day, also known as one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States, saved the lives of half a dozen fellow concertgoers.
Guardsman receives Utah Medal of Valor for heroism during mass shooting in Las Vegas
By Ileen Kennedy | Sept. 1, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — In the midst of gunfire, and with a frantic crowd trying to flee from being

Lt. Col. Brandon Holmer, Utah National Guard, fires at paper targets with a pistol during the Tactical Games in Price, Utah, Aug. 29, 2020. Holmer placed first in Master class, and placed first overall.
Utah Guard Claims Top Honors at Tactical Games
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Aug. 29, 2020
The All Guard Marksmanship Team, composed of several members of the Utah National Guard, claimed top honors at the Tactical Games held in Price, Utah, Aug. 30, 2020.

Soldiers assigned to the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade are hit by a simulated improvised explosive device during squad movement operations at Camp Williams, Utah, as part of their annual training Aug. 2-15, 2020. Despite the added health protocol restrictions, 204th MEB Soldiers were still able to conduct their required annual training.
Utah Soldiers Train With “Solidarity and Purpose” During Pandemic
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Aug. 15, 2020
True to their unit motto, the 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Utah National Guard, conducted annual training with “Solidarity and Purpose” and some additional health precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aug. 1-15, 2020, Camp Williams, Bluffdale, Utah.

Gov. Gary R. Herbert  salutes the newly promoted Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley at the Utah State Capitol, in the Gold Room, Aug. 6, 2020. Gov. Herbert officiated at the ceremony and administered the oath of office. Turley's wife, MaryLou, pinned on his new rank with his family assembled in the Gold Room observing. Command Sgt. Maj. Spencer Nielsen unfurled and posted the two-star flag followed by offering the first salute. 

Due to COVID-19 social distancing those who attended in person were limited. The ceremony was broadcasted on Facebook Live where hundreds were able to be a part of this historical day.
The Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. (P) Michael J. Turley promotes to Major General
By Ileen Kennedy | Aug. 6, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah--Brig. Gen.(P) Michael J. Turley was officially promoted to the rank of major

Gold Star families were honored during a memorial dedication ceremony Aug. 1, 2020, as Utah's first Gold Star Memorial was unveiled in North Ogden.
Historically the “Gold Star
Utah’s first Gold Star Family Monument unveiled in North Ogden
By Staff Sgt. Timothy Beery | Aug. 5, 2020
NORTH OGDEN, Utah - Gold Star families were honored during a memorial dedication ceremony Aug. 1,

Army National Guard Soldiers participate in a weapons zeroing for the Region VII Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Williams, Utah, July 29, 2020. Guardsmen from Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Hawaii are participating in the competition for the chance to move on to the higher level Army National Guard BWC later this year. Best Warrior Competitions are designed to test Soldiers’ mental and physical endurance with a variety of challenges to help the Army build strong and knowledgeable leaders. (U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Shae Cox)
Utah Guard Hosts Region VII Best Warrior Competition 
By Staff Sgt. Timothy Beery | Aug. 4, 2020
CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah - Twelve Soldiers from the Western United States and Guam exhausted themselves

Staff Sgt. Jesse Shiner of the Utah Army National Guard participates in a weapons zeroing for the Region VII Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Williams, Utah, July 29, 2020. Guardsmen from Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Hawaii are participating in the competition for the chance to move on to the higher level Army National Guard BWC later this year. Best Warrior Competitions are designed to test Soldiers’ mental and physical endurance with a variety of challenges to help the Army build strong and knowledgeable leaders. (U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Shae Cox)
Two Utah Guardsmen Give All at Region VII Best Warrior Competition
By Pvt. Shae Cox | Aug. 4, 2020
CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah - Best warrior competitions require a lot of preparation. Utah National Guard

U.S. Senate confirms U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Loh as the next director to lead the Air National Guard.  Loh has served nearly 30 years in the Colorado Air National Guard and has experience in various key leadership roles, such as flight, squadron and group commander as well as the Colorado National Guard assistant adjutant general and adjutant general. Loh is a command pilot with more than 3,200 flight hours, including 2,900 hours and 128 combat flight hours in the F-16A/B/C/D Fighting Falcon.
Senate confirms Loh as next director of the Air National Guard
By ANG Public Affairs Office | July 21, 2020
AIR NATIONAL GUARD READINESS CENTER, Md. - The U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen.