704th MI hosts change-of-responsibility ceremony

Col. Rhett R. Cox, the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade commander, passes the NCO sword to the new senior enlisted leader of the Electron Recon brigade, Command Sgt. Maj. Corey E. Brown, during a change-of-responsibility ceremony held Nov. 29, at the Post Theater. Brown assumed responsibility of the Electron Recon Brigade from Command Sgt. Maj. Marc A. Gianotti. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Cashmere Jefferson)

By Staff Sgt. Cashmere Jefferson, 704th MI Brigade Public Affairs Office

The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade bid farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Marc A. Gianotti and welcomed its new senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Corey E. Brown, during a change-of-responsibility ceremony Nov. 29 at the Post Theater.

Col. Rhett R. Cox, commander of the 704th MI, was the host of the ceremony. During his speech, Cox spoke about how Gianotti brought Army standards back to the brigade.

“He re-instituted things like physical readiness training five times a week, revitalized our noncommissioned officer development program using Army doctrine as our guide, he re-established the NCO support channel. And for those who don’t know what that is, check it out in AR 600-20. It’s the leadership chain that parallels and complements the chain of command,” Cox said.

“That’s extremely important in our unit as we’re in 272 different work centers, 18 states and over six countries, and we depend on our sergeants to be leaders.”

Cox said Gianotti was an example for all to follow.

“In 27 years of military service, he’s never scored below a 290 on his APFT [Army Physical Fitness Test],” he said. “And in one day I witnessed him teach a 10-level task to a Soldier on how to assemble and disassemble an automatic weapon. And that afternoon, I got to witness him provide strategic advice to a two-star general.”

Cox emphasized to the audience in the jam-packed theater that Gianotti exemplifies the traits they had put in writing together 18 months ago in the brigade’s vision statement.

He said Gianotti is “proud, tough, fit, competent, disciplined, motivated and resilient.”

The brigade commander thanked Gianotti for always providing him advice, counsel and coaching.

“My meager words can’t adequately describe what you mean to me or this brigade,” Cox said. “I hope the Army selects you to advise our most senior Army leaders, and I hope I‘ve earned your respect.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Marc A. Gianotti, outgoing senior enlisted leader of the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, is awarded the Legion of Merit before his change-of-responsibility ceremony.

In his remarks, Gianotti reflected on the change of responsibility that brought him to the 704th MI just a short time ago.

“I told you that I would lead by example, that I would be where you are, that I would listen to you and that I would not forget that I work for you,” he said. “My goal was simply to earn your trust because that, in and of itself, is its own reward.”

The outgoing senior enlisted leader reiterated that change in the Army is inevitable. Gianotti also focused on the attribute of trust.

“I believe that a unit’s ability to effectively handle change is directly proportional to the trust the Soldiers have in their leadership, and that the leadership has in their Soldiers to make it happen,” he said.

At the end of his speech, Gianotti, who is headed to the Center for Army Leadership at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., asked everyone in attendance to focus on trust.

“Just remember that trust has to be given to be received and it can’t be faked. It’s just like love,” he said.

With love, he gave a heart-warming shoutout to his wife, Dr. Carrie Gianotti, who is also a major in the U.S. Army Reserve; his mother, a stage-four cancer survivor who received a standing ovation in the theater for her hard-fought journey; and to his mother-in-law.

“Dr. Gianotti, Ma’am, Boo — thank you for appreciating that I truly intended to come home each night, even though I never made it through the gate at 1800,” he said. “You’re all I have and you make me better in every way.

“Mama and Beth, thank you for attending and being perfect examples of strong, independent women. You are both incredible.”

To Recon 6, Gianotti said he never served with a finer commander or officer who cared as deeply or truly about noncommissioned officer development.

Gianotti also thanked Cox for his counsel, his trust and his friendship.

“I will miss our daily PT sessions even though your 4-mile runs are really 5 and one-half miles,” he said.

Cox welcomed Brown to the Electron Recon brigade and declared that it is the best MI brigade in the Army to serve.

“He’s no stranger to our brigade and comes to us with an impressive assignment history and an outstanding reputation,” Cox said. “I look forward to working with you to make this unit better every day and building the best leaders for our Army.”

Brown is returning to the unit with his wife, Sara, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, and daughter Jaeda from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, where he served as “America’s Corps” G-2 sergeant major and the 7th Infantry Division G-2 sergeant major.

Brown’s two sons currently serve in this U.S. Navy.

“To the NCOs and Soldiers of the 704th MI Brigade, you are the ones who truly make it all happen,” Brown said. “I am very excited to take the role as your brigade CSM today.

“I am your voice, and you can best believe that I will work tirelessly every day to ensure that it is heard.”

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