FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 10, 2019) — A career-long culinary specialist is the new Dragon Brigade command sergeant major.
CSM Albert J. Richardson Jr., who earned the (forerunner) food service specialist military occupational specialty here in 1994, accepted the 23rd Quartermaster Bde., colors during a Dec. 4 change of responsibility ceremony at MacLaughlin Fitness Center.
“It’s an honor,” he said following the event. “I’m glad to be back here because I am in the position to impact Soldiers individually and the total force collectively. I appreciate the opportunity to lead where I started my career.”
The event, complemented by an abbreviated amount of troops in formation, drew roughly 200 attendees. They included Brig. Gen. Douglas McBride, Quartermaster General, and CSM Vidal, QM Corps CSM.
Col. Jason P. Affolder, 23rd QM Bde. commander, officiated the ceremony.
Richardson, a Bentonia, Miss., native, spent his time at the lectern thanking those who has lent him support and all responsible for training and supporting troops, including the installation’s community partners. He also thanked the command team for the opportunity to lead Soldiers. Richardson comes to Fort Lee from Fort Riley, Kan., where he succeeded Haney as CSM, 299th Bde. Support Battalion, 2nd Bde. Combat Team.
Richardson was also assigned here previously, concluding a 2017 tour as the Army G4 Food Service Inspection Team sergeant major.
Haney, who began her tenure here Dec. 1, 2017, said during her remarks it was a privilege to partake in the mission of helping shape initial entry troops into Soldiers.
“As I stand before you today, I am thankful for the opportunity to help lead such an amazing organization,” she said. “The 23rd QM Bde. is a top training brigade in our Army.”
Haney’s tenure was marked by change, she said. It included the brigade’s transition from platoon sergeants to drill sergeants; extension of the QM field training exercise; and numerous others impacting cadre and students.
“I would have to say through all the changes this brigade has been through, we are a stronger team because we did it together,” she said to the audience.
The brigade endured devastating change earlier this year when it lost Col. Gregory S. Townsend, its brigade commander. Townsend was killed April 22 helping a stranded motorist on Route 460 in Wakefield. The incident threw the entire brigade into a brief period of darkness, but through its personnel and the support of others, emerged with resilience and resolve, a fact Haney acknowledged in her speech.
“My hat goes off to all the instructors, drill sergeants, first sergeants and company commanders, sergeants major; directors, battalion command sergeants major, brigade command sergeants major, battalion commanders; battalion staffs, and the supporting staff from Team Lee … thank you,” she said. “Thank you for supporting this great brigade.”
Haney, who was close to Townsend and admired his humanity and compassion, said his loss was personally traumatic and still lingers. Even so, she expressed a poignant farewell to her “battle buddy,” which also seemed to be a measure of acceptance and finality.
“Col. Gregory Townsend, may you continue to rest in peace,” she said. “Definitely gone too soon. I know you are smiling down from heaven on me and beaming with pride. I really do miss you.”
Haney also had appreciative words for Affolder, Townsend’s replacement who was confronted with the challenge of fulfilling a mission while healing wounds in light of the loss.
“Thank you for your passion, energy and your positive mindset,” the CSM said to her commander since June, “and most importantly, your friendship. With you as the driver of this brigade, it is destined for continued success.”
Haney was accompanied by her two teenage children and fiancé. The 28-year Soldier is due to take a congressional assignment in the Washington area.
Richardson, as Affolder’s enlisted advisor, will help to oversee the training of 23,000 quartermaster Soldiers annually in multiple occupational specialties including mortuary affairs, automated logistics, petroleum and water distribution, food service and more.