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by Maj. Gus LaFontaine, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers became Kentucky’s tenth state command sergeant major during an assumption of responsibility ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 16. He takes over for Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden who retires this month.
Follow the link to view the video introduction to new Command Sgt. Maj. Withers.
General, Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton presided over an event that was socially
distanced and adjusted with considerations to COVID-19.
Withers has served
30 years in the Kentucky Army National Guard. He sees this new opportunity as a
way to amplify his voice on behalf of the enlisted Soldiers and families in the
Kentucky National Guard.
“That’s the one,
true purpose of this job; to provide that feedback to the Commander on behalf
of our Soldiers, Airmen, and their families.”
Withers’ career in
the Kentucky Army National Guard includes posts as a battalion and brigade
sergeant major. He has completed two deployments and a variety of state active
duty missions as a member of Kentucky’s National Guard. He previously served as
a combat engineer.
“I’ll always be an
engineer at heart,” said Withers.
his desire to have meaningful interactions with the state’s enlisted
"I want them to
be open and honest with me. At the end of the day that’s the only way we get
better. We learn from our mistakes and how we can be better,” said
responsibility from Munden who retires this month after 39 years of service.
Munden served as the state command sergeant major for three separate Adjutant
Generals beginning with Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini in 2015. He reflected on his
tenure in the Kentucky Army National Guard.
“It was all about
service. I never really looked at the end. I really lived in the moment of
whatever I was was doing. Whatever training it was, wherever I was in that
moment, that’s where I was and that’s what I wanted to do. It was all about
serving. I enjoyed being a Soldier and doing Solider stuff,” Munden said.
Munden was pleased
with the development of NCO’s in the Kentucky National Guard during his
Asked to give an
example, Munden cited the improved pass rates of Kentucky Guardsmen in the
sergeants major academy over the last five years. He added, “Not to brag or
boast, but I think we made a great improvement in how our senior sergeants look
at what it takes to get there and what it takes to stay there and do well. I
think we made incredible strides in that area over the last five years.”
Withers seeks to
continue this trend during his assignment.
“My goal for the
Kentucky National Guard is to continue our leader development,” said
He shared other
goals he has for the enlisted corps of the Kentucky National Guard. “I want us
to get solid on our individual readiness. Let’s be proficient at our basic
Soldier tasks. Let’s ensure that all Soldiers can be promoted when they are
eligible,” said Withers.
He offered concluding counsel. “Keep yourself ready. We never know what tomorrow is going to bring and what we may be called upon to execute. Maintain yourself, your equipment, be proficient and trained, and you’ll be ready for any mission that we receive.”
To view Saturday's full ceremony click here.