For some 28 months, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Lambert served as the senior enlisted leader for the 266th Quartermaster Battalion. On June 24 in front of small audience of family, friends and fellow Soldiers here, he relinquished that position while simultaneously concluding his Army career and celebrating his 46th birthday.
While joyous in some respects, it also was the bittersweet end of an era, noted Lt. Col. Amelia H. Schulz, battalion commander, after receiving the flag from Lambert and passing it on to interim CSM, Sgt. Maj. Delonica Boyce.
“We’re here to say goodbye to an outstanding Soldier, leader and yes, I’ll say it CSM Lambert, a mentor,” Schulz remarked before explaining the comment to those attending and watching online. The word mentor had started many a serious discussion between them.
“A mentor advises and a mentor trains. If that doesn’t sum you up, then I’ll pick up my toys and go; but I know I’m right,” Schulz said, later listing the positions of 72 Soldiers he coached toward success. That was after delving into other accomplishments.
“You gave sage advice and guidance that helped revamp the battalion’s leader certification program. You managed the resiliency of our team to flawlessly execute two Holiday Block Leave missions. You gave us the tools to be winners as the Provider battalion laid claim to the FY19 first and fourth quarter Brigade Honors Battalion streamers, as well as two consecutive Fight Tonight awards,” the commander said.
“You understood commander’s intent, CSM. Your ability to go out and execute ensured the timely implementation of new guidance into training plans, such as ACFT and combatives. Your follow through ensured the successful implementation of Field Feeding and MA Collection Point Training.
“So, let’s just agree that, though you won’t want to take credit for any of that glory, you must, as this battalion would not be able to support the mission and people without the involvement of a committed, loyal, dedicated selfless servant like yourself,” Schulz acknowledged. “Let’s also agree that you’ve been running full speed for the last two years – more like the last 27 years – and it’s time now to … say goodbye to an excellent and impactful leader. … Steve and I wish you, Ebony and Majour an extraordinarily well-deserved retirement, and happy birthday CSM Lambert.”
After Schulz walked away from the lectern, Lambert stepped forward to thank CASCOM and brigade leaders who helped him ensure the 266th remained the “best battalion on Fort Lee.” He acknowledged that without his teammates’ support, there would not have been a successful command team.
He saved the most heartfelt words for his “battle buddy for life,” former 266th Commander Lt. Col. Clarisse Scott, and his recently retired spouse Lt. Col. Ebony Lambert.
“I came into this seat at one of the darkest times in my life as I had already been away from Ebony for more than a year, only to find out she was being deployed for a year,” Lambert explained. “I had a two-year-old son to figure out how to raise by myself; then I had a number of close family members die in about a week and a half. Lastly, I had just become a new CSM with a new commander. I had no idea what I was going to do.
“That’s when I realized Lt. Col. Scott was one of my angels. She allowed me time to learn how to be a dad. I will be forever grateful to you and Patrick for the support and true friendship you gave me.
“Lt. Col. Lambert, it is my pleasure to call you that one last time as today is your official retirement date from the Army. Thanks for getting up over the last 25 years and standing right beside me in that uniform. Thank you for all you do for me and Juice. I love you, and I have no clue where I would be without you. In 2001, I gave you your first salute. Fast forward to 2020, I now have the pleasure to give you your last.”
CSM Lambert’s official retirement is in September. The 266th’s new CSM is Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ricketts who will arrive at Fort Lee in August.