Trailblazing USAREUR enlisted leader heading to cyber posting
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 20, 2018
WIESBADEN, Germany — The Army’s first female senior enlisted leader at a service component command is leaving U.S. Army Europe for an assignment at the Army Cyber Command after nearly three years on the Continent.
Command Sgt. Maj. Sheryl Lyon said she hopes her tenure can be an impetus for future female enlisted leaders to step up.
“I hope that I’ve been able to help pave the way, that it’s based on capability for positions instead of gender or ethnicity or anything like that,” she said. “Hopefully in some small way by being in this position I’ve helped to ease that pathway.”
With Lyon’s departure at a ceremony in Wiesbaden on Tuesday, Command Sgt. Maj. Alberto Delgado of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command will take temporary responsibility as USAREUR’s senior enlisted leader, with Special Operations Command’s Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Abernethy tapped to replace Lyon later this spring.
USAREUR commander Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, who was serving as commander of the 7th Army Training Command when Lyon arrived in Europe in 2015, said that Lyon will be a tough act to follow.
“I got to watch with pleasure as she set about transforming the way we do NCO development and the way we lead our soldiers across this formation,” Cavoli said. “It was a professional privilege to watch.”
Under Lyon’s tenure, operational tempo significantly increased on the Continent, with additional forces, including two combat brigades, assigned to the theater on a rotational basis.
Lyon sought to reduce the stress involved with such a demanding schedule.
“We’re trying to make it feel a little more like home, giving cultural opportunities,” she said. “For some of them it’s the first time overseas, so I would prefer that they not be tied to their base and they be given the opportunity to travel a little bit.”
USAREUR is characterized by a wide geographic distribution of component units, which required Lyon to travel throughout Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe.
Lyon’s next challenge will be taking the helm of the Fort Belvoir, Va.-based Army Cyber Command, which has only existed since 2010 and has an increasingly vital mission in the face of aggressive cyberattacks from adversaries.
Lyon, an intelligence soldier by trade, said it will be an adjustment on the technical side, but she’s confident her experience will put her in good stead.
“I won’t pretend that going to Army Cyber is straight military intelligence, because it’s not,” she said. “There are some ones and zeros in there that I am not a technical expert on, but I think I bring some knowledge and past experience that will help in that realm that will help advance it as well.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Sheryl Lyon, left, passes the U.S. Army Europe colors to Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, USAREUR commander, during her relinquishment of responsibility ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Lyon, who has an intelligence background, will next be taking an assignment at U.S. Army Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir, Va.
DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES