By Maj. Brent Mangum
Utah National Guard
A retirement ceremony was held for Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Legler at the Aaron Butler Readiness Center, Camp Williams, Utah, June 24, 2021. Legler most recently served as the command sergeant major of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
It took Legler around eight minutes to introduce all the family and friends that came to celebrate his almost 33 years of service in the United States Army and the Utah National Guard.
Distinguished guests included: Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley, adjutant general of the UTNG; Brig. Gen. Tyler B. Smith, the assistant adjutant general of the UTNG; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brian T. Searcy, command chief warrant officer of the UTNG; and Command Sgt. Maj. Spencer D. Nielson, senior enlisted leader of the UTNG. Many others came to bid farewell to Legler who has made an impact on units and Soldiers across the UTNG.
Legler enlisted in December 1988 as an indirect fire infantryman. During his time in the U.S. Army, he served in the 1st Infantry Division; 2nd Infantry Division; 82nd Airborne Division; 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne); and the 19th SFG(A).
In the 19th SFG(A), he served as a company sergeant major, a battalion operations sergeant major, the group operations sergeant major and, finally, as command sergeant major of the 19th SFG(A). For the UTNG, he also served as the branch chief for the Warrior Leader Course, the deputy commandant for 1st Battalion, 640th Regional Training Institute, and the UTNG Personnel and Human Resource Office sergeant major. His deployments include Haiti, the Philippines, and Iraq. From 2005 to 2009, he also served as a Department of Defense contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“On behalf of the nation, the 19th Special Forces Group, and the SOF enterprise, thank you for serving during one of the most dangerous times in our nation’s history,” said Col. Paul Peters, commander of the19th SFG(A). “When you retire, you put away a lot of things, like your uniform and formations, but what doesn’t get put away is the history of your service in the SOF community which is a very small subsection of the military, which is already a very small subsection of the nation. And you served as the command sergeant major of an SF group, something very few people can say they did. This is no small thing. Thank you. Your time has been well spent.”
After watching a video montage recounting Legler’s experiences in the Army, he spoke for a few minutes thanking those in attendance.
“It was great to see this video, especially to see some of my friends who aren’t with us anymore,” said Legler. “I know this retirement ceremony is for me, but it really isn’t about me. It’s about all you here and many others that aren’t here; my family, friends, peers, subordinates, leaders—this is about you and your support that made my career possible. Thank you. Thank you. This is really about you.”
During his retirement ceremony, Legler was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal and the Bronze Order of Saint Philip Neri Medallion, a Special Forces regimental honor that recognizes the distinguished performance and the outstanding contributions that a Special Forces Soldier has made to the regiment.
As command sergeant major of the UTNG, Nielson said during his remarks, “He’s just a genuinely good person.”
Twenty-one current and former sergeants major came to give gifts and hugs to Legler and wish him well in his retirement.
Legler’s previous awards, badges, tabs, and other decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (3rd), the Army Commendation Medal (4th), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (2nd), the Special Forces tab, the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantry Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Royal Thai Army Parachutist Badge.
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