Written by Maj. Ireka Sanders
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Erbil, Iraq – Command Sgt. Maj. John A. Brady, command sergeant major of the “Strike” brigade, relinquished responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Jason L. Wilson, who comes to Strike from the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he played a role in preparing the Soldiers currently deployed to Iraq.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Brady, I have been told on multiple occasions that I have big shoes to fill succeeding you here as the brigade command sergeant major, and they are right,” said Wilson during the ceremony. “What you have been able to accomplish here has been nothing short of amazing.”
Brady joined the Strike Brigade in late September 2014, shortly before the brigade redeployed from its third deployment to Afghanistan. He then reintegrated the unit to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During Brady’s time as Strike’s CSM, he has taken led the brigade through a vigorous training cycle that led to its current deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The brigade, operating as Task Force Strike of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve, is supporting the Iraqi security forces in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“Today really sucks for me to be frank with you,” said Brady to the brigade during his remarks. “To have to leave such an awesome organization during a deployment – I can tell you that it is crushing and it hurts me deep inside.”
“To bear witness of your ability to overcome anything that was thrust upon you has been nothing short of amazing. Who would have thought our training path would have had strategic and national impacts,” he said. “The raw talent and individual ability at every level across this BCT never ceases to amaze me and it makes me proud to have been part of it.”
Founded in 1917, the brigade has deployed in operations around the world. From Normandy to Vietnam, Iraq to Afghanistan, the Strike Brigade repeatedly answered the nation’s call to rapidly move into harm’s way and accomplish its mission. In the week of July 17th-24th alone, the Strike Brigade’s history credits the unit for distinguished service with service members earning 25 valor awards, 22 silver stars and 33 purple hearts.
“Leaders change but this regiment drives on,” said Col. Brett G. Sylvia, commander of 2nd BCT, to the formation. “We endure hardships, we enforce peace, we encourage allies and we defeat foes. We are Strike Soldiers, and this is what we do.”
“Command Sgt. Maj. Brady and Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson, whether coming or going, never forget that you are Strike Soldiers. You will fight where you are told and you will win where you fight,” said Sylvia. “We are now at a key transition point in this important mission as critical component of the one team that will make Mosul great again.”
Though Wilson feels he has large shoes to fill following Brady, he does so with a promise to former the Strike 7.
“You can leave here knowing I will remain 100% committed to the Soldiers of this organization,” said Wilson to Brady. “I will strive daily to take them to new heights.”
“It is truly humbling to be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve with Soldiers and leaders whom, after over 15 years of conflict, continue to lead by example and are committed to the Army and our profession of arms,” Wilson said. “I want to thank each and every one of you for the contributions you have made and will continue to make throughout the time you serve. Air Assault. One Team. Strike. Strike 7, signing on the net.”