The Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) formally installed its new senior enlisted adviser at a Friday ceremony at Camp Simons near Crestview. Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Sanchez, who is retiring, was replaced by Command Sgt. Maj. Alexis Ortiz.
EGLIN AFB — “Tag. You’re ’it.’”
With those three words, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Sanchez, senior enlisted adviser for the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), lightheartedly relinquished those responsibilities to the 7th Group’s incoming senior enlisted adviser, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Alexis Ortiz.
Sanchez, a Green Beret who is retiring from the Army after a career that began in 1986, used his parting remarks Friday to praise the 7th Group troops with whom he has worked, calling them “the finest ... this regiment has to offer.”
“You guys have excelled in every mission,” Sanchez told the hundreds of 7th Group soldiers at Friday’s Change of Responsibility ceremony at the group’s Liberty Chapel.
After leading the troops, family members and community representatives at the ceremony in a moment of silence for the group’s fallen members, Sanchez urged the 7th Group troops to continue their tradition of excellence.
“Make yourselves proud,” he said.
Then, turning to Ortiz, Sanchez said, “I hope this becomes the greatest experience of your career.”
Ortiz enlisted in the Army in 1991, came to the 7th Group in 2011 and worked through a number of enlisted leadership positions.
“I’m honored and humbled to serve as your command sergeant major,” he told the soldiers.
Ortiz also took a personal moment to address his brother in the audience. “You’re the main reason I joined the Army.”
Col. John Sannes, commander of the 7th Group, presided over the Change of Responsibility and told Sanchez, “You’ve definitely made our organization, and the world, a better place.
“Your demonstration of service to our nation is an example to your family and to us,” Sannes also told Sanchez, adding that Sanchez’s legacy with the 7th Group “will never quit and will never slip away.”
Initiating Ortiz into his new role, Sannes said, “I look forward to receiving your expert guidance.”
In the days before his retirement, Sanchez made his last parachute jump with his eldest son, Pvt. Diego Sanchez, an infantryman with the 82nd Airborne Division. The jump took place at Fort Benning, Georgia, in November.
An Army news story on the jump included the following from Sanchez: "Someone asked me, ’Why don't you keep going?’ I like to go out on top, and I think where I am at in my career right now, being a group sergeant major, to me that is on top. Leaving the Army and being able to jump with my son is probably one of those things you can't replicate. You can't top it, so I feel good about getting out at this point of my career and seeing him just start his career.“