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By Maj. William Carraway
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj . Matthew Marks assumed responsibility as the senior enlisted leader of the Georgia Department of Defense during a change of responsibility ceremony at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., Jan. 8, 2021. Marks assumed the mantle of responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Marchert, who is retiring after more than 30 years of military service.
Speaking during the ceremony, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, Adjutant General of the Ga. DOD praised Marchert’s long career in the military and public education.
“Today, we celebrate success. Command Sgt. Maj. Marchert has led at every level and delivered exceptional results for more than 32 years,” said Carden. “From his humble beginnings as an infantry Soldier, to serving as my mentor and our senior enlisted leader, Marchert has set the standard.”
Central to the change of responsibility ceremony was the passing of the noncommissioned officer’s sword, symbolizing the relinquishing of responsibility from the outgoing to the incoming senior enlisted leader. As the SEL for the Ga. DOD, Marks assumes responsibility for nearly 15,000 personnel of the Ga. Army National Guard, Air National Guard and State Defense Force.
In his remarks, Carden noted career highlights of the incoming and outgoing senior enlisted leaders.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Marks takes on the difficult task of being my mentor and the standard bearer for all Soldiers and Airmen in our formation regardless of rank,” said Carden. “I have served with Command Sgt. Maj. Marks for many years. Like Marchert, he has demonstrated success and delivered results at every level. I am confident that he will build on the great body of work left for him by Command Sgt. Maj. Marchert.”
Marks began his military career in the U.S. Army in 1987 at Fort Benning where he completed one station unit training as an infantryman. He participated in Operation Just Cause with the 1st Ranger Battalion and subsequently deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. In 2002, Marks joined the Ga. ARNG as operations sergeant of Company H, 121st Infantry Regiment (Long Range Surveillance) . In 2011, he deployed to Kosovo as the operations sergeant major of the 3rd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment. Marks’ most recent assignment was as the command sergeant major of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which deployed to Afghanistan from 2018 to 2019.
Marchert was appointed senior enlisted leader in April 2018. Prior to this appointment, he held several key leadership and staff positions ranging from squad leader to command sergeant major of the Statesboro-based 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. He served as the command sergeant major for two brigades: the Cumming-based 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and the Marietta-based 78th Troop Command.
Addressing the assembled Soldiers, Airmen, State Defense Volunteers and community members, Marchert recounted stories of mentorship and leadership. During his remarks, he held up a letter that had been written to him more than 20 years ago by one of his students. That student, Megan Pruitt, serves as the band director for Cass High School in Cartersville, Ga. Pruitt and six of her students joined the 116th Army Band in providing music for the change of responsibility ceremony.
Carden thanked Pruitt and the students of Cass High school and called attention to the role Marchert has played as a military leader and educator for more than three decades.
“This is emblematic of our Citizen Soldiers who live and works in our communities,” said Carden. “Your influence is lasting and important.”