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    337th Engineer Bn. CSM retires after 35 years of service

    337th Engineer Bn. CSM retires after 35 years of service

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Keeler | (Center) Command Sgt. Maj. Brian McDermott, command sergeant major of the 337th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Keeler 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa – Command Sgt. Maj. Brian McDermott, command sergeant major of the 337th Engineer Battalion, 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, retired from the Pennsylvania National Guard after more than 35 years of service in March 2022.

    “It wasn’t a job. When I look back, I believe it was a responsibility. It was the best job that I’ve ever had,” said McDermott, a Landisville, Pa., native.

    McDermott’s eventual journey to the military was the road less traveled.

    “I wasn’t planning on joining the military,” he said. “I was in college at the time, and my twin brother and I got talking and we discussed going into the service.”

    At the time of their decision, Top Gun was out in movie theaters that impacted the brothers in joining the military. The film’s popularity caused a spike in people joining the military, and the brothers faced a two-year waiting list for officer candidate school.

    “So we made the decision to enlist in the Marine Corps,” McDermott said. “While talking with the recruiter, they had a game plan for us to enlist under the ECP program or the enlisted commission program. We enlisted and did our time enlisted, and submitted a packet to go through the process of eventually became officers in the Marine Corps.”

    Serving as an enlisted Marine, McDermott worked his way to the rank of sergeant before he was able to go to officer candidate school. Graduating from OCS, he commissioned as an officer.

    McDermott spent several years through different assignments like communications officer with the 7th Communication Battalion, training officer Detachment 2 Communication Company, and more. During this time, McDermott worked his way to the rank of captain.

    After his career in the Marines, McDermott decided that he was ready to hang up the uniform, and in February of 2001, he resigned his commission. He thought he was done with serving his country. At least he thought.

    While teaching at Landisville Middle School, in the Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, he was leading his students on the football field when a chance encounter occurred.

    “I teach for a living. I had a class out on the football field, and here is a guy in an U.S. Army uniform pacing a guy doing a two-mile run. This guy goes around the track, and as he runs by me and he says, ‘Are you captain McDermott?’” he said.

    The individual turned out to be a recruiter with the Pennsylvania National Guard who had also been in the Marine Corps, too. The recruiter discussed with McDermott the potential of joining the Pennsylvania National Guard, and McDermott realized he still had more to serve this country.

    A few months after leaving the Marines in early 2001, McDermott enlisted in the PA National Guard in June 2001. Since McDermott wanted to focus his career in the Army National Guard differently than in the Marines, he was able to join the PA Guard as a sergeant instead of an officer.

    During McDermott’s career, he has had a chance to hold several different positions. In the Marines, he was in the infantry when he was enlisted and a communications officer after he was commissioned. When he joined the PA Guard, he became a combat engineer, and when the unit he served with transitioned to a reconnaissance unit, he became a cavalry scout. Then, when he moved to 328th Brigade Support Battalion, he became supply specialist.

    McDermott notes that earning these different positions throughout his career helped make him more marketable and eligible for positions across different units.

    Serving through several different branches, and through both enlisted and officer ranks, McDermott’s had a unique opportunity to mentor and lead other service members.

    “I’ve enjoyed every rank that I’ve worn,” he said. “I’ve been on the enlisted side and I’ve been on the officer side, and I’ve enjoyed them all. One of the best was being in command, not because of being in command, but with working and serving with the service members.”



    Date Taken: 05.13.2022
    Date Posted: 05.13.2022 15:46
    Story ID: 420694
    Hometown: HEMPFIELD, PA, US
    Hometown: LANDISVILLE, PA, US

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