|Outgoing Texas Military Forces' Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley C. Brandt at his change of responsibility ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, Nov. 15, 2014. Brandt will retire with over 30 years serving in the Texas National Guard. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Walker)
Story by: Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon
AUSTIN, Texas - With a ceremonial passing of the Non Commissioned Officer’s Sword, the Texas Military Forces’ Senior Enlisted Leader handed over responsibility to the incoming command sergeant major in a ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.
Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Brandt began his military career in June of 1975 as a U.S. Army UH-1 Huey helicopter mechanic with the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. After completing his active duty tour in 1978, Brandt took a break before transitioning into his career with the Texas National Guard.
“I came into the Guard on the ‘Trial One’ program back in 1983 and I never would have thought I’d be here this long,” Brandt said. “ But look at me now, over 20 years as a Soldier and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
During his career, Brandt worked in six different military occupational fields including two in army aviation, motor vehicle mechanic, water purification, logistics and sergeant major of these, the one he has been doing the longest is also his favorite.
“I’ve been a command sergeant major for 15 years,” Brandt said. “I love to get out and visit with the Soldiers and see what their concerns are.”
Brandt says the number one request he gets from Soldiers is to find out what’s happening at the higher level.
“They want to know what’s happening in the organization,” Brandt said. “Things like deployments and what the future holds for the Texas National Guard are the most common things Soldiers ask me about.”
During his three-year role as senior enlisted leader for the Texas Military Forces, Brandt worked to better unite the Texas Air Guard and the Texas Army Guard. His efforts led to the first ever Joint-Best Warrior Competition in all of the National Guard. Brandt enlisted the help of other senior enlisted leaders to open up the traditionally Army only competition to Airmen.
“I had been to several joint events where everything was Army centric, so I told myself that I wanted to change that mentality,” Brandt said. “The way to do it was to integrate them more with our programs and so I asked for help, and thankfully they saw how much this meant to me and therefore we all worked together and made it happen.”
Brandt remembers the Airmen’s reaction the first year they participated in the Joint Best Warrior competition.
“Every single Airmen that participated came up me to show their gratitude,” Brandt said. “They said, ‘thank you sergeant major for letting us compete and be a part of this,’ and that’s good stuff. So they are here now competing with Soldiers every year, and they’re in it for the long haul as long as someone keeps it going after me.”
As Brandt ends his time as senior enlisted leader for the Texas Military Forces, he hopes that his efforts to bring the Texas Army and Air Guard components closer will continue and grow as a model for other states.