Eighth Army holds Change of Responsibility ceremony
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Jan. 26, 2015) -- The U.S. Army's only permanently forward-deployed Field Army, the Eighth U.S. Army, held a Change of Responsibility ceremony Jan. 26 at the Collier Community Fitness Center at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.
During the brief ceremony, incoming Sergeant Major Edward W. Mitchell, a native of Richmond, Va. assumed responsibility from the outgoing senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Ray A. Devens who hails from Altona, New York.
As the incoming Sergeant Major of Eighth Army, Mitchell will be responsible for leading a force of over 38,000 Soldiers, Civilians, and Korean nationals, as well as working with the Republic of Korea Army and the U.S.-ROK Alliance. As he assumed responsibility for the Eighth Army enlisted corps he thanked those who had helped him reach this point in his career and humbly accepted the challenge.
"I am overwhelmed with a sense of pride and humility at the opportunity to be a part of this great command team," said Mitchell. "The Army is the ultimate team sport and I have reached this day because of the many people who have worked so well with me throughout my career."
Devens leaves Eighth Army having made considerable contributions during his two-year stay as the top enlisted leader of the "Pacific Victors."
"Under Command Sgt. Maj. Devens' leadership, Eighth Army has achieved unprecedented heights in the way we train, the way we develop leaders, and the quality of life we provide our Soldiers, civilians and family members," said Lt. Gen. Bernard Champoux, Eighth Army commanding general.
Devens humbly accepted the praise, but wanted everyone to know that it took a team effort for him to be a success as an Eighth Army leader.
"All of you have made a huge impact on me and Eighth Army," said Devens.
"I'm not sure you all are aware of this, but because of our combined efforts we are now recognized throughout our U.S. Army as the most combat ready Field Army in the U.S. military today."
Devens success at Eighth Army wasn't a surprise to Champoux, however, who had served with him at various other commands throughout their Army careers.
"I have served with him, literally, around the world, in every environment imaginable, in garrison, in training, and in combat," said Champoux.
"Through all of this, I have had the distinct privilege of witnessing, first hand, the content of his character, competence, commitment, and courage…and ladies and gentlemen, there is not a finer Soldier, warrior, leader, or human being."
"His dedication and passion to see Eighth Army excel in everything that we do exemplifies the true meaning of excellence and demonstrates his strong commitment to professionalism, selfless service, and dynamic leadership," Champoux continued.
"With your departure we are not only losing one of the best senior leaders and warriors I have ever had the pleasure of serving with in my 38 years in uniform, I am also saying goodbye to a close friend."
Devens' next position is the Joint, Senior Enlisted Leader for the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, in Baghdad, Iraq.