Story and photo by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Sgt. Maj. Matthew Boehme assumed responsibility of the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) during a ceremony March 7 on Founders Field.
Boehme replaces Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Woods, who is retiring and moving with his Family to Arkansas.
“Today we acknowledge the accomplishments and sacrifices of a professional Soldier and his Family. For the last 27 years, Mike chose a life of service over self, putting the needs of Soldiers and their Families above his own,” said Col. William McDonough, commander, 71st EOD. “Woods embodies in spirit and action, in word and deed, every sentence and every word of the Noncommissioned Officer Creed.
“He is the consummate professional, always striving to improve personal and unit performance, setting and enforcing standards of conduct, putting the needs of our Soldiers and their Families before his own, and preparing Soldiers to professionally accomplish all missions,” McDonough said. “We’ve been fortunate to serve with you, and we’re a better unit because we’ve served with you.”
McDonough offered words of encouragement to the incoming sergeant major.
“To Sgt. Maj. Matt Boehme, welcome to the team; I look forward to working with you, and I look forward to the expertise you’re going to bring to the 71st EOD,” said McDonough.
After the invocation from the chaplain, Woods, McDonough and Boehme moved
to the field for the traditional passing of the Noncommissioned Officer Sword.
After relinquishing responsibility to Boehme, Woods took his place at the podium, bid farewell to his Soldiers and welcomed Boehme and his Family to the unit.
“For the past 27 years, it’s been my privilege and honor to be a member of the EOD community. I’ve had the privilege of working with some remarkable Soldiers and leaders over the years,” said Woods. “I’ve seen many of them grow from young privates, specialists and second lieutenants to now being company first sergeants, master sergeants as well as company and battalion commanders.
“Matt, I leave you with a fighting force of ‘Raptors;’ of steel-eyed killers ready to deal death and protect the innocent,” said Woods. “You are the right man at the right time, and I wish you well. I have no doubt you will take the force to the next level, and I’m proud to call you friend.”
Boehme, a native of Mullinville, Kan., began his military service with the Kansas Army National Guard in 1987, and switched to active duty in 1990. His previous assignment was in Washington, D.C., as the Headquarters, Department of the Army, adaptive counter-improvised explosive device/explosive ordnance disposal solutions sergeant major.
“I’m humbled to stand before you and assume responsibility of this great organization,” said Boehme.
“I would like to commend all the Soldiers of the 71st EOD for the outstanding job they have done over the past decade, while deployed in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Boehme. “We will continue to uphold and enforce the high standards of the Raptors group. As the Army continues to change, we will adapt to new environments and take on new missions.”