Command Sergeant Major Michael Green, outgoing 82nd Airborne Division command sergeant major, transferred responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Ferrusi, incoming 82nd Abn. Div. command sergeant major, during a change of responsibility ceremony outside the division headquarters on Thursday.
During the ceremony, which signified the end of Green’s time as the division’s senior enlisted advisor, he thanked Family, friends and the paratroopers for making his time memorable.
Before the ceremony, Green spoke candidly about the 16 years’ worth of memories he has in the division. He said his best memory came while jumping into Sicily Drop Zone during the first All-American Week after he assumed responsibility as the 82nd Abn. Div. command sergeant major.
“I was standing there looking over at Gen. (Richard) Clark, we both gave each other the thumbs up and exited the aircraft,” said Green. “Then to know that you’re the division sergeant major now, conducting an airborne operation in front of an excess of 8,000 people, to demonstrate the capabilities of the most powerful division in the Army.”
Thinking about times he has seen the strength of the division, Green said there are many, but one of the things he will remember is when the division deployed and supported Swift Response 16.
“We went from being in a D-Day commemoration (then) we alerted, marshaled and deployed a brigade sized to Poland within 96 hours,” said Green. “Conducting partnered operations on the Polish border.”
Green said the logistics, organization and execution of Swift Response demonstrated the division’s abilities.
“We had a battalion worth of Polish (Soldiers), a battalion worth of British (Soldiers) and a battalion out of the 173rd (Airborne Brigade),” he said. “We really demonstrated our strategic reach by being able to link all these up in the air and conduct a joint forcible entry operation deep into the heart of Poland.
He added that the forcible entry operation demonstrated the division’s global reach.
As the 82nd Abn. Div. recently celebrated its centennial, Green hopes his legacy will help continue their state of readiness for the next 100 years as America’s Guard of Honor.
Part of that legacy are the many initiatives that Green has implemented or helped to implement. The one he feels has the most impact on the divisions and its units is the 1st Sgt. Funk Deployment Readiness Exercise program.
“It continues to prepare our young paratroopers to be ready,” said Green. “It sets them up as we go down there and give an external evaluation of their systems and processes, they know that they are truly going to be ready for any call that comes.
Green said the DRE also highlights what units may need a little bit of extra vision on.
“Maybe they couldn’t see because they came so close to the problem,” said Green. “It’s all about readiness and about being ready to fight tonight, so when that call comes our paratroopers can answer.”
Because of their ability to jump from aircraft, sometimes paratroopers are given opportunities that regular Soldiers are not. Green spoke about an opportunity that he was able to experience because he is a paratrooper.
“The most touching things that I can remember is the fact of having the opportunity, as the Division sergeant major, to jump in both Normandy, (France) and Nijmegen, (Holland),” said Green. “On the drop zones that our forefathers jumped into, for me, is a pretty big deal.
“But that’s the opportunities that you get being a paratrooper,” added Green.
For his follow on assignment, Green will serve as senior enlisted advisor at the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization.
Though he will move on to a new assignment, Green knows he always has a home with the 82nd Abn. Div.
“Just because I’m no longer All-American 9, I’m still going to be a ‘Paratrooper for Life,’ because that’s what it’s all about,” said Green. “That connective tissue that once a paratrooper always a paratrooper.
“You may not jump out of airplanes anymore, you may not don the beret, you may not even put on the uniform, but you’ll always be a paratrooper and you’ll always have a home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina because this is the home of the 82nd Airborne Division,” he added in closing.