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    Pa. Guard Soldiers bid farewell to 28th Infantry Division command sergeant major, welcome incoming senior enlisted leader

    Pa. Guard Soldiers bid farewell to 28th Infantry Division command sergeant major, welcome incoming senior enlisted leader

    Photo By Master Sgt. Daniel Palermo | The 28th Infantry Division incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Randall Pritts (left) and...... read more read more

    HARRISBURG, PA, UNITED STATES

    08.11.2019

    Story by Master Sgt. Daniel Palermo and Sgt. 1st Class Doug Roles

    28th Infantry Division

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    RELEASE No. 20190811-01
    AUG. 11, 2019
    DVIDS URL:
    DVIDS TAGS: 28th Infantry Division,
    FACEBOOK TAGS: 28th Infantry Division,

    Pa. Guard Soldiers bid farewell to 28th Infantry Division command sergeant major, welcome incoming senior enlisted leader

    By Master Sgt. Daniel Palermo and Sgt. 1st Class Doug Roles
    28th Infantry Division, Public Affairs NCOIC

    HARRISBURG MILITARY POST – Soldiers and friends of the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, gathered at Harrisburg Military Post on Aug. 11 to bid farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. John Jones, the division’s senior enlisted leader and, currently, the longest-serving division Soldier. During a change of responsibility ceremony, the unit also welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Randall Pritts, the incoming division sergeant major.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Jones, of Julian, Centre County, has served as the division sergeant major since September 2016 and has served in the Pa. Guard for 42 years. He served as the Task Force Spartan command sergeant major during the division headquarters battalion’s 2018 deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield. In that capacity, he served as the senior enlisted soldier for a 10,000-member U.S. military task force charged with building interoperability with partner nations in the Arabian Gulf.

    During the change of responsibility ceremony, Jones addressed his troops for the last time.

    “Thank you to all our soldiers for the commitment and sacrifice you make every day you wear the uniform. It’s not easy managing family, military and civilian careers, and being ready to drop everything you’re doing when called to perform your state and federal duty,” Jones said “It’s about being part of a team, it’s about being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s about being a professional. It’s demanding, it’s not easy but you have chosen to defend our freedom.”

    Command Sgt. Maj. Pritts thanked Maj. Gen. Andrew Schafer, the division commander, for placing confidence in him as the division’s 13th command sergeant major. Pritts pledged to maintain continuity while also striving to improve the unit.

    “I look forward to serving with Maj. Gen. Schafer and enhancing the proficiency of this division,” Pritts said. “The 28th Infantry Division has a history of getting great leadership. I look forward to continuing that legacy.”
    Command Sgt. Maj. Pritts thanked the division’s Soldiers for their dedication. He also spoke highly of Command Sgt. Maj. Jones as he addressed the audience.

    “Over the past 11 years, I have truly come to appreciate all that you do for the soldiers, not only in this division, but the Pennsylvania National Guard as a whole. Your genuine concern for the safety and stability of this organization has been evident throughout your tenure,” said Pritts.

    Jones began his military service in July 1977 with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard when he enlisted into Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment (in what is now the 56th Stryker Brigade) in Bellefonte. He then completed basic training at Ft. Dix, N.J. and advanced individual training at Ft. Benning, Ga. Jones then held every leadership position from team leader to command sergeant major of the 2-112. Throughout his years with the unit, he was the first sergeant of three companies – Bravo Company (light infantry), Echo Company (anti-tank) and Headquarters Company (mechanized) – before being selected as the command sergeant major for the battalion in October 1998. Jones was promoted to command sergeant major on April 1, 1999.

    Through his tenure as the 2-112th command sergeant major, he served in the post-911 Airport Security Mission, 2001-2002, and deployed with the 2-112th to Kosovo in 2003-2004.

    Jones was selected as the 56th brigade command sergeant major on June 1, 2004. He then became the first Stryker Brigade Combat Team command sergeant major in the Guard or U.S. Army Reserve as the 56th, formerly a mechanized brigade, was selected to become the sixth Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the U.S Army and the only SBCT in the reserve component.

    Jones deployed with the 56th SBCT to New Orleans, La, in September 2005 to assist with humanitarian relief after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Jones then deployed as the command sergeant major with the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team to Camp Taji, Iraq, in 2008-2009. He continued to serve as the brigade’s command sergeant major during post-deployment reset.

    Jones was selected as the Garrison Command Sergeant Major at Fort Indiantown Gap which is the primary training facility for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, located in Annville, Pa. Command Sgt. Maj. Jones held this position from Sept. 1, 2010 until Aug. 10, 2012.

    On Aug. 11, 2012, Jones was selected as the command sergeant major-Army, Pennsylvania National Guard. He is the senior enlisted advisor to the Deputy Adjutant General-Army. Jones has completed many military courses and has graduated from all required Noncommissioned Officer Education System courses to include the First Sergeant Course and United States Army Sergeants Major Academy.

    Jones was born in Washington, DC. He is a 1977 graduate of Bald Eagle Area High School in Centre County, where he has been serving as the Varsity Baseball Assistant Coach from 1996 to present. He is a retired corrections officer from the State Correction Institute at Rockview, Bellefonte, where he was employed from 1990-2015.

    His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (6th Award), Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), Army Achievement Medal (3rd Award), Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (10th Award), National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star Device), Kosovo Campaign Medal (with Bronze Service Star), Iraq Campaign Medal (with Bronze Service Star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal , Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with #2, Gold Hour Glass and “M” Device), NCO Professional Development Ribbon (#4), Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, Nato-Medal/Non-Article 5 (Kosovo), Keystone Freedom Medal, Pennsylvania Commendation Medal, Pennsylvania Service Ribbon (2nd Award), Pennsylvania Twenty Year Service Medal (with 3 Silver Stars), Major General Thomas R. White Medal, General Thomas J. Stewart Medal, Louisiana Emergency Service Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Citation, Pennsylvania Governor’s Unit Citation, Combat Infantry Badge, German Schutzenschnur Badge (Silver) , Overseas Service Bar, and 28 ID Combat Patch. Jones is also the recipient of the Infantry’s “Order of Saint Maurice” (Bloody Bucket Chapter) and Gold Combat Spurs from the 1st Cavalry Division.

    Jones and his wife, Christine, have one daughter, Morgan.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Pritts began his military service in September 1983 with the Pa. Army National Guard when he enlisted into Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 103rd Armored Regiment, located in Friedens, Pa. He completed his basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Knox, Ky. Staying in his chosen field with the armored corp, he rose through the company’s ranks until being selected for the first sergeant position of the unit he enlisted into 18.5 years earlier.

    He then became the first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He was promoted to command sergeant major April 3, 2010 while assigned to 1st Battalion , 112th Infantry Regiment. In 2014, he transitioned his responsibilities to the 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry (RSTA). In 2017, he took responsibility of 56th SBCT command sergeant major position.

    Throughout his career, he served multiple tours, the first being 2002-03 in support of Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina. His support of Operation Iraqi Freedom consisted of two tours of duty, in 2004-05 with the 2IBCT, and in 2008-09 with 56SBCT.

    His military and civilian education includes all levels of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System as well as the M60A3 and M1/M1A1 reserve component tank commander courses.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.11.2019
    Date Posted: 08.12.2019 02:19
    Story ID: 335463
    Location: HARRISBURG, PA, US 
    Hometown: ANNVILLE, PA, US
    Hometown: BELLEFONTE, PA, US
    Hometown: CENTRE, PA, US
    Hometown: FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, PA, US
    Hometown: FRIEDENS, PA, US
    Hometown: HARRISBURG, PA, US
    Hometown: JULIAN, PA, US
    Hometown: SOMERSET, PA, US
    Hometown: STATE COLLEGE, PA, US

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    Pa. Guard Soldiers bid farewell to 28th Infantry Division command sergeant major, welcome incoming senior enlisted leader