Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland has been in the Army for 24 years, but he had never been to the post where he now serves as the top enlisted soldier.
Fort Carson welcomed Holland on Thursday as the 4th Infantry Division’s top sergeant. He has served in Hawaii, Europe, Afghanistan and North Carolina, but this is his first stop in the Rockies.
“Humbling would be the word I would pick,” he said.
Command sergeants major serve as the father confessor to unit commanders and take a big role in looking after discipline and physical fitness among troops.
Holland, a former member of the Army’s elite Golden Knights parachute team, knows all about tough physical training. He has also served in a Ranger regiment and with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy, units known for tough training.
Fort Carson boss Maj. Gen. Randy George is going to need the division headquarters contingent in top shape in a hurry. They’re headed to Afghanistan by the end of the year.
“I’m super fired up you are going to join the team,” George told Holland.
Holland has started to get to know the troops whom he will serve alongside overseas and the intricacies of the division. “I’m going to be drinking from a firehose,” he said.
The division already has two of its combat brigades on the ground in Afghanistan along with elements of other units.
George and Holland will help lead those troops and other formations in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. effort to stamp out the Taliban while training and supporting Afghanistan’s army.
Holland said that while he hasn’t served in Colorado, he has long heard about the 4th Infantry Division. With its roots in World War I, the division has also won fame in World War II, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This division was at the top of my list,” he said.
And Holland already knows how to impress the locals. He’s working on setting a top time on the Manitou Incline.
George, meanwhile, thinks he has found the right top sergeant for the division as it prepares to head overseas. “You are going to be a game-changer on this deployment,” he told Holland.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx