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Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael R. Weimer swears in as the 17th sergeant major of the Army during the change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023.

Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael R. Weimer swears in as the 17th sergeant major of the Army during the change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. (Deonte Rowell/U.S. Army)

The U.S. Army has a new enlisted leader.

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Weimer officially assumed responsibility as the 17th sergeant major of the Army from Michael Grinston during a ceremony Friday at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. As the service’s senior enlisted leader, Weimer will serve as spokesman for the entire force, according to an Army news release.

“I love that the noncommissioned officer is the backbone of the United States Army and the envy of the world. I love that,” Weimer said in the release. “I’m not sure I knew the whole concept of why, but once I became a noncommissioned officer and grew in this journey, I saw the uniqueness in the noncommissioned officer corps — there’s none like it.”

Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael R. Weime, swears in as the 17th sergeant major of the Army during the change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023.

Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael R. Weime, swears in as the 17th sergeant major of the Army during the change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. (Deonte Rowell/U.S. Army)

Weimer most recently served as the senior enlisted leader for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. In May, Command Sgt. Maj. JoAnn Naumann assumed that role, becoming the first female senior enlisted leader in the service.

Stars and Stripes previously reported Weimer enlisted in the Army in 1993, completed the Special Forces Selection and Assessment course in 1994 and earned his Green Beret in 1996 upon graduation from the Special Forces Weapons Sergeant Course, according to his biography. He has twice been awarded the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for combat valor, among other awards.

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. James C. McConville and Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael A. Grinston conducted a pass and review during the change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. The event was hosted by Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. James C. McConville and Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael A. Grinston conducted a pass and review during the change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. The event was hosted by Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth (Deonte Rowell/U.S. Army)

As sergeant major of the Army, Weimer said he will focus on investing in soldiers and leaders.

“The reason we exist is to be the premier warfighters the world has ever seen and to do that you’ve got to be a good teammate,” Weimer said. “You’ve got to take care of your family. You absolutely have to develop yourself. We’ve got to have the right leaders.”

Grinston, who officially retired Thursday, has served as sergeant major of the Army since 2019, during which time he has focused on improving quality of life for enlisted soldiers, including efforts to improve conditions in barracks infested with black mold. He has helped guide the Army as it struggles with recruitment, and helped with the service’s recent rebrand, in which it returned to its “Be All You Can Be” slogan. His retirement comes after nearly 36 years in the Army.

Also at the ceremony Friday, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George became acting chief of staff, taking over for retiring Gen. James McConville. Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville has blocked the Senate from confirming hundreds of general and flag officer nominations by voice vote since February in protest of a Pentagon policy that reimburses service members for travel expenses to seek reproductive health care banned in several states, including abortions.

From left, Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael A. Grinston, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. James C. McConville, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Gen. Randy A. George, vice chief of staff of the Army, and incoming Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael R. Weimer participate in the chief ofstaff of the Army and sergeant major of the Army change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023.

From left, Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Michael A. Grinston, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. James C. McConville, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Gen. Randy A. George, vice chief of staff of the Army, and incoming Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael R. Weimer participate in the chief ofstaff of the Army and sergeant major of the Army change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. (Deonte Rowell/U.S. Army)

Brian McElhiney is reporter for Stars and Stripes based in Okinawa, Japan. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa.

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