94th Division Command Sergeant Major Retires: Makes History during Tenure

By Maj. Ebony Gay | 94th Training Division | May 15, 2019

FORT LEE, Va. — FORT LEE, Va. – Carrying out a command sergeant major tenure is thought of as one of the most challenging endeavors bestowed upon our nation’s senior non-commissioned officers. It is another milestone of its own for one to see his or her military career through until retirement. For one senior leader, an impactful military career came to fruition.

The 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment, a down-trace unit of the 80th Training Command (The Army School System), gathered at the Army Logistics University Bunker Hall here to bid farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Sharon Campbell, outgoing 94th TD-FS command sergeant major, and welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Simpson as the new division command sergeant major on Mar. 10, 2019, during the unit’s change of responsibility ceremony.

Campbell serves as a Human Resources Supervisor with the 319th Signal Battalion, in Sacramento, California. During her farewell speech, Campbell spoke of her historical 38-year military road to success. She spoke about her enthusiasm to be one of three sergeant major’s to hold a division command position, straightening her path to triumph, and becoming a single mother.  She emphasized the importance of being an inspiration for others, seizing opportunities the military has to offer, and having a passion for what you do.

“Wow, 38-years flew by. What a way to celebrate Women’s History Month," said Campbell. “For me to be here today, after having served in a distinguished position as a division command sergeant major, being the only one of three at this level in United States Army Reserve Command until recently, and the first African American female command sergeant major for the 94th Training Division, I have paved the way for other women to follow.”

Campbell reminisced about how her initial plans to join the Air Force Nov. 26, 1980, did not pan out when her childhood best friend said, “Let’s join the Army on the buddy plan."

"To my surprise, my best friend did not show up to the Military Entrance Processing Station," said Campbell. “I thought, 'What have I done?'"

Despite Campbell’s entry into the military taking an unexpected turn, she views her service in the Army as her best choice.

“I can stand here today to say I made the best decision … to be the all I can be and to be Army strong,” said Campbell.

The foundation for Campbell’s success was laid by her parents. She also gained vast insight into the military culture as her father, a World War II veteran, completed 37 years of federal service.

“My parents insisted ... that we be respectful, educated, and (willing) to open doors that were closed to them,” said Campbell. “I strive for excellence in everything I do.”

In her speech, Campbell said that it's more important to focus on where one is heading, not on where one has been. Campbell gave further insight into her road to success during her military career.

“I grew up in a poor community called Strawberry Manor in Del Paso Heights, California,” said Campbell. “Although I loved my community, I knew I had to reach higher to obtain a better life. By joining the Army, I am now able to give back to my community.”

The road for Campbell’s military and civilian careers was not initially aligned as she desired, but she set out to adjust her path to her liking.

“Although my road was crooked, I made it straight,” said Campbell. “When I found it difficult to follow, I learned to lead.”

Along Campbell’s road to success, she learned how to juggle the responsibilities of working a full-time job, being a full-time student, becoming a single mother of three children under five years old, and serving in the Army Reserve. During these trying times, Campbell used the Warrior Ethos to press on.

“I taught my children never to quit,” said Campbell. “I studied hard, learning all I could, and attained a bachelor’s degree in Business and a master’s degree in Business Administration …I made my road straight.”

Campbell shared how she attained and performed five Military Occupational Specialties and held various positions during her military career, while striving for the path of her choice.

“I’ve worked hard in the Army Reserve, attaining MOSs, starting in signal as a radio teletype operator with morse code, served as adjutant general, a logistician, an instructor, an operations sergeant, a first sergeant, a director of instruction, and a division command sergeant major," said Campbell.

Campbell said she sought to be an inspiration to others by leading the way, with no excuses on why she could not complete tasks or the mission. Change is inevitable, explained Campbell, and it should be accepted to promote growth. She encouraged the audience to make a difference, not for themselves but others.

“Learn everything you can, and love what you do, or don't do it," said Campbell. “No matter how crooked the road looks, control your destiny … make your road straight.”

As Campbell completes this chapter of her life and military career, she relinquished the responsibility of the 94th TD-FS to Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Simpson whom Campbell said she is honored to have as her predecessor.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Simpson, I am honored to have you follow in my footsteps," said Campbell. "I know you will set the bar even higher along with the amazing command team, brigade command sergeants major, and Soldiers you have that have shown me the utmost respect, support, and dedication.”

On the civilian side, Simpson serves as a federal police officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C.  He has served as the Maryland Region area commander for the past 16 years. Simpson shared insight about assuming responsibility of the 94th TD as the incoming command sergeant major, his first command position at the division level.

Simpson admits that he was a bit anxious coming into his new position at the 94th.

“I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into,” said Simpson. “Then I became nervous as I began to realize and understand the tremendous responsibility involved. I’ve calmed myself because I understand the mechanisms in place to aid me with carrying out the mission.”

With previous military time in the 94th, Simpson talked about some of his initial objectives in this new position.

“I’ve lead a brigade under the 94th in the past, so I have an understanding of the unit’s mission," said Simpson. “My job now is to see if there are obstacles that have hindered past achievements and to come up with new, creative procedures or improve on old processes to get us closer to fulfilling the division’s overall mission.”

With 30 years of military service, Simpson shared lessons learned throughout his career he believes will contribute to a successful tenure at the 94th.

“I will strive to instill an increased level of pride in the instructor corps," said Simpson.

“Finally, I also think my attitude toward Soldiers will aid me,” said Simpson. “Soldiers make us who we are. If we put value and importance into the Soldiers - our junior and subordinate leaders - empowering them will make our jobs easier.”