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NEWS | Aug. 15, 2020

Withers Becomes Tenth State Sergeant Major

By Maj. Gus LaFontaine Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

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.

Kentucky’s Adjutant 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.

Withers expressed his desire to have meaningful interactions with the state’s enlisted force.

“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 Withers.

Withers assumes 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 tenure.

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 Withers.

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.”

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