In the world of Army sustainment, the job of CASCOM command sergeant major tends to be terminal – the last stop on the road to retirement.
There are no such plans for CSM Michael J. Perry III.
He is on his way to Fort Knox where he is scheduled to assume the top enlisted position with the 1st Theater Support Command.
Such and more was stated during Perry’s relinquishment of command ceremony Friday at the Lee Club. The formalities were hosted by Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general. Among those present for the restricted-in-person-attendance event were John E. Hall, deputy to the CASCOM commanding general; Brig. Gen. James M. Smith, Chief of Transportation and interim Army Logistics University president; Col. Brent D. Coryell, ALU commandant; and Col. Michelle K. Donahue, Quartermaster General.
Perry, who spent the bulk of his 28 years of service in operational assignments, will transition from his administrative post here to a Kentucky-based organization with a warfighting mission that provides for operational-level sustainment support at the Army, joint, interagency and multinational levels. It has more than 10,000 Soldiers and civilians assigned in more than 20 countries, mostly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Fogg, who presented Perry with the Legion of Merit during an awards ceremony prior to the relinquishment of command, spoke warmly of the CSM’s work here and said he still has a tankful of ambition that will surely benefit his new unit and the Army as a whole.
“It’s been a wonderful journey,” Fogg said. “We know there’s a lot more you’re going to do for the Army and the 1st TSC, (which is) really the most dynamic place for sustainers, in my opinion. On any single day, CENTCOM can blow up. … You’re the right person for the job as you were the right person for (this latest one).”
“Blow-up” is Fogg’s descriptive term for the high possibility of hotspots in the CENTCOM area of operations and the 1st TSC’s response to them.
Fogg also thanked Perry’s wife, Razell, for supporting her husband, the command and the relationship their families enjoyed. She was presented with certificates of appreciation.
The relinquishment of command ceremony, which also took place in the main ballroom with roughly 30 people present as a COVID-19 safeguard, did not feature the normal passing of flags or sabers but a simple salute from the CSM to the commanding general before the command colors.
During his remarks, Fogg characterized Perry as a humble, visionary leader who understood with great clarity the CASCOM mission and the wide spectrum of his role as the senior enlisted advisor.
“He understood that here at CASCOM – the Sustainment Center of Excellence – we are the quarterback for the Army sustainment function, and we work in coordination with others to push things through.
“CSM Perry knew how to look up and out, and down and in. That is not always easy. There is a balancing act you have to be able to execute, and he certainly did this. … He understood you could never walk by a standard that is not being met without correcting it. So, you have to maintain standards and discipline while also, being able as he did, to call the TRADOC or CAC command sergeant major and talk about Army policies; to talk about the implementation of the ACFT; to talk about NCO education …”
Fogg said Perry’s accomplishments were extensive and included advocating for multifunctional sustainment, improving CASCOM’s NCO talent pool, bringing back the CASCOM Drill Sergeant of the Year competition and much more.
“Everything you touched, sergeant major, got better,” he said.
Perry, only the second culinary specialist to take on the responsibilities of CASCOM CSM, took to the lectern for a considerably shorter time than Fogg. He first thanked his wife for the many times she upended her life for the sake of his profession. He then expressed heaping measures of gratitude to members of the leadership team, and the Soldiers, civilians and others who made his tenure productive.
“It’s been a distinct honor to be a part of this great organization and this great family,” he said. “I am humbled that I have the opportunity to continue to serve as we prepare to move on to the 1st TSC. … I wish you all Godspeed and safe travels as we continue to endure COVID.”
The last three CASCOM CSMs retired from the Army at the end of their tenures.
CSM Jorge Escobedo, currently the Soldier Support Institute CSM at Fort Jackson, S.C., is Perry’s replacement. Escobedo will be the first non-logistician to hold CASCOM’s senior enlisted position.