Story and photo by Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — The 759th Military Police Battalion bid farewell to its senior enlisted leader and welcomed a new command sergeant major during a change of responsibility ceremony at McMahon Auditorium Jan. 4, 2021, at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew G. Thompson relinquished responsibility of the battalion to Command Sgt. Maj. James T. Camba, an experienced NCO with 23-years of service.
The reviewing officer for the ceremony, Lt. Col. Ranjini T. Danaraj, commander, 759th MP Bn., first mentioned the austere environment of the auditorium, which sat nearly empty due to pandemic restrictions and measures.
“This ceremony is not befitting of the 759th MP Battalion or the two men we honor today,” she said. “There should be much more fanfare in this transition. But alas, virtual events are a necessary precaution in the age of COVID-19.”
The commander explained that a year ago, she would have rattled off a number of accomplishments that spoke to the battalion support of global military operations, preparation for homeland defense, sustained readiness and winning at all levels in the Army.
“But, an impressive list of the battalion’s accomplishments doesn’t fully illustrate how (Command) Sergeant Major Thompson cared for the ‘Lone Sentinel’ battalion,” she said. “As we’ve struggled to practically define ‘People First’ as an Army, let me show you how good leadership defines it for you.”
Danaraj mentioned how Thompson put people first through discipline, standards and personal engagement, and closed the gap between the battalion’s Soldiers and Directorate of Emergency Services civilians to provide security and safety for 70,000 Soldiers, civilians and Family members of the Mountain Post.
Among Thompson’s talents, Danaraj listed: putting people first through his work to coordinate borrowed military manpower with the division, affording the battalion the best time-management cycles of any MP battalion in the corps and by always making time to provide counsel to Soldiers, NCOs and officers.
“When (Command) Sergeant Major Thompson spoke, it wasn’t platitudes or regurgitation, it was context, keen insight and practical application,” she said. “He put people first in always counseling me that we can’t always take from the Soldiers. We have to find ways to be accommodating while accomplishing the mission. He put people first by exercising mission command, what he always wanted as a first sergeant – mutual trust, mission orders, discipline initiative, risk acceptance and underwriting mistakes. We are truly a learning organization because of (him).”
Thompson then took the stage and thanked both past and present battalion and 4th Infantry Division leaders as well as the NCOs and Soldiers of the 759th MP Bn.
The incoming command sergeant major returned to the Mountain Post from Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, where he was the operations sergeant major for the 8th MP brigade. Camba’s many assignments along his distinguished career include three deployments and stints with both the 984th and 110th MP companies at Fort Carson.
“We are excited to have his energy and experience,” Danaraj said. “I know he will continue to set the example of putting people first in the ‘Lone Sentinel’ battalion and I look forward to our work ahead.”
Following Thompson’s comments Camba said he accepted the privilege of guiding the nation’s greatest assets, the Soldiers, NCOs and officers under our watch.
“I’m blessed and humble to serve alongside Lt. Col. Danaraj,” he said. “I’m confident we will forge a strong working relationship that will foster team work and a winning attitude.”
Thompson departs the Mountain Post and will continue his Army career with the 42nd MP Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.