With some reluctance, Command Sgt. Maj. James Kilpatrick prepares to leave Fort Carson and the community he’s served for the past four years.
“I could do this forever,” he said. “Well, maybe not forever, but for many, many years.”
Kilpatrick passes the garrison colors to Sgt. Maj. Steven Green in a change of responsibility ceremony 11 a.m. Tuesday at Manhart Field.
Since 2008, Kilpatrick has served as the garrison command sergeant major, working alongside community and military leaders to help foster a relationship between Fort Carson and the Pikes Peak region.
“I could do this for a long time not because it’s easy,” he said. “It’s challenging. … Challenge is something I yearn for. For me, challenge is just an opportunity.”
Kilpatrick joined the Army in 1984 after working for a home improvement company.
“I almost joined the Marines,” he said. “I went into the Marine Corps recruiting office, but no one was there. An Army recruiter told me I could sit and wait in his office. He convinced me to join the Army instead.”
The intense training required by the Army pushed Kilpatrick and he said he was grateful for it.
“Army training allowed me to know what I can endure,” he said. “It allowed me to find myself. … It tested my limits and allowed me to know that when things are hard, I can move beyond them.”
It is this type of attitude that Kilpatrick credits with helping him throughout his time at Fort Carson.
“It was surprising to me how much I would be relied upon,” he said. “I didn’t realize … you’re just as important in getting things done as your commander.”
Kilpatrick said he faced challenges as the garrison command sergeant major, but his priority was always helping the community.
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s not about what I want. It’s to make this place better and make the people feel better. (The garrison has) the capabilities and the resources.”
With each challenge, Kilpatrick said he grew as a leader.
“When something is negative, there is always something positive attached to it,” he said. “This is one of those jobs where you want to keep learning. The more you learn, the more you can help.”
During his time at Fort Carson, Kilpatrick said he observed many highlights, including the relocation of the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas; the bolstering of Family-oriented programs through Army Community Service and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and the growth of the post as construction projects and building renovations took place.
Kilpatrick said he was especially proud of the relationships military leaders formed with the local community.
“I’m blown away by our community here,” he said. “In my 28 years (in the military), I haven’t seen anything like it. The love for our service men and women is outstanding.”
Kilpatrick’s next assignment is at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Indiana where he will help train Reserve and National Guard troops.