FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico –
Command Sgt. Maj. Orlando Santiago relinquished responsibility as command sergeant major of the 1st Mission Support Command, United States Army Reserve- Puerto Rico, the largest federal Army command in the Caribbean, to Command Sgt. Maj. Robert B. Breck in a ceremony at the command's headquarters March 23.
“Becoming a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army is a huge milestone in the career of an enlisted Soldier. In fact, for many the measure of success in the enlisted Army profession comes at the achievement of earning the rank of command sergeant major. I have been blessed in my career with great noncommissioned officers, who made me the officer that I am today. While reflecting about that, the NCO Creed comes to my mind," said Brig. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, senior Army Reserve officer in the region.
This ceremony marked Santiago’s last official act in the Army Reserve, as he is retiring after 36 years of exemplary military service to the nation. Santiago was accompanied by his wife Maria Santiago and his family.
“If it wasn’t for the Army, my life would have been different, without so many opportunities. I joined the Army for the same reasons many of you also joined, to get out of challenging circumstances and to expand my opportunities, serving something bigger than myself. To get ahead in life, start a family and be somebody. I found all of this in the United States Army,” said Santiago emotionally during his farewell speech.
As the new command sergeant major, Breck, whose last assignment was as the 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support), Logistics command sergeant major, will perform as the senior noncommissioned officer for the Army Reserve-Puerto Rico soldiers, with an approximate strength of 5,000 troops and responsibility over 11 Reserve centers across Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.
“I have a special place in my heart for Puerto Rico. Back in the 1980’s I had the privilege to share beautiful moments with the people of Puerto Rico, while serving as a missionary on this beautiful island. That is why I am honored to be back now as the senior federal noncommissioned officer in the region, which gives me the opportunity to work closer with the men and women in uniform and the families from this glorious command,” said Breck, who was accompanied by his wife Michelle Breck and his family.
The change of responsibility ceremony is a military tradition. The Army holds the ceremony when a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) leaves a leadership position and a new NCO arrives. The ceremony renders honors to the departing NCO and provides official recognition for the incoming leader.