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Ferrusi bids farewell as 82nd Airborne welcomes new CSM

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Ferrusi

By RACHAEL RILEY | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: January 25, 2019

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Friends, family and soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division crowded Funk Physical Fitness Center at Fort Bragg on Thursday to say farewell to the division’s 26th command sergeant major and welcome its 27th.

Outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Ferrusi relinquished his responsibilities as the senior enlisted leader of the division to incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur “Cliff” Burgoyne Jr.

Ferrusi is joining America’s I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Burgoyne arrives from the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Ferrusi, a native of Niagara Falls, New York, joined the Army in 1987 and joined the 82nd Airborne Division in October 2017. He previously served as the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Army Alaska at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska.

During his career, he’s deployed with the Ranger Regiment in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Maj. Gen. James Mingus, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, said Ferrusi is “tough, passionate, caring, fit, confident, relentless, an enforcer of standards, a mentor, a friend and a leader.”

“You have been the heartbeat and personality of this division. And if called, we are ready tonight in a large part because of what you’ve done,” Mingus told Ferrusi.

Mingus said Ferrusi was the perfect command sergeant major for the past 15 months, and that during Ferrusi's 32 years in the Army, 25 of those have been with almost all of the Army's airborne units.

“We wish you the very best, and never forget you will always be a paratrooper for life,” Mingus said.

Ferrusi said he wouldn't be where he is without the support and dedication of the 18,500 paratroopers of the division.

He thanked senior noncommissioned officers across Fort Bragg and in the division, Mingus and Mingus’ wife, Amy, division staff, leaders and paratroopers.

“Even though I take my beret off today and I may never wear it again, I will always be a paratrooper for life,” Ferrusi said.

Following Thursday’s ceremony, Ferrusi said he considers it an honor to have “walked in the halls amongst the shadows of heroes in the history” of the 82nd Airborne Division.

If he had one thing to take away from being a paratrooper, Ferrusi said it would be the bonds and connections.

“When you take this organization and you take it somewhere and put it in its position to jump out of a plane to go somewhere, what you see to your left and right —that’s all you have, and so there’s a special trust and a special bond between paratroopers,” he said.

He told Burgoyne he is happy for him and jealous at the same time and encouraged Burgoyne to “cherish every second” of the opportunity.

Burgoyne, a Slidell, Louisiana, native, has served as a long range surveillance team leader with the 51st Infantry at Fort Bragg and as a platoon sergeant with three companies for the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg. He enlisted in the Army in 1986 and has deployed three times to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan.

Mingus said the knowledge Burgoyne brings to the division is valued.

“He comes with an amazing reputation both inside the division and throughout the Army, (a) calm and resolute leader that exemplifies what we hold dear in our (noncommissioned officer) corps — a proven leader in both combat and peace, tough, empathetic, cares for paratroopers and their families,” Mingus said.

Burgoyne thanked his wife, Kate, children, parents, brother, Mingus and the 82nd Airborne Division.

“I will work diligently to ensure we remain ready to answer the nation’s call to defeat the enemies of our country and that we develop you to become not only the greatest paratroopers but productive citizens of our country,” he said.

rriley@fayobserver.com

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