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Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Bush salute during a V Corps ceremony welcoming Bush as the new top enlisted soldier of the corps Monday.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Bush salute during a V Corps ceremony welcoming Bush as the new top enlisted soldier of the corps Monday. (Jon R. Anderson / S&S)
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Bush salute during a V Corps ceremony welcoming Bush as the new top enlisted soldier of the corps Monday.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Bush salute during a V Corps ceremony welcoming Bush as the new top enlisted soldier of the corps Monday. (Jon R. Anderson / S&S)
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bush wait under the awning of the V Corps headquarters as troops prepare to welcome Bush as corps' top enlisted soldier during a ceremony Monday.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bush wait under the awning of the V Corps headquarters as troops prepare to welcome Bush as corps' top enlisted soldier during a ceremony Monday. (Jon R. Anderson / S&S)

HEIDELBERG, Germany — Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Bush filled V Corps’ long-empty top enlisted post in a small, 15-minute ceremony Monday.

Bush joins the corps shortly after returning from more than a year of combat duty in Iraq as the command sergeant major of 1st Armored Division.

Bush “epitomizes the warrior ethos,” V Corps commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told a gathering of mostly top brass and sergeants major in front of the corps headquarters in Heidelberg.

“There is no one more experienced to meet this critical job.”

Sanchez should know. The two went to war together when Sanchez was the commander of 1st AD. Sanchez pinned on a third star and took over command of the corps after the fall of Baghdad. Although the corps returned from Iraq in February, Sanchez stayed through the spring as the leader of coalition forces.

Through it all, Sanchez continued to lean on Bush as a trusted adviser, especially after V Corps Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston was given the nod to take over the top enlisted post for the entire Army in December.

Still, nine months later, the V Corps position had remained officially vacant. Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Likens had been pulling double duty as both command sergeant major of the 69th Artillery Brigade and acting command sergeant major of V Corps.

Bush arrives in Heidelberg at a critical time. Most of the corps’ units have either just returned from Iraq or are currently there.

“Not only are we engaged in battle, but we are also preparing for war,” Sanchez said. “As far as we can see into the future, we will be engaged in that total spectrum — preparing, deploying and engaged in battle.”

Meanwhile, top leaders have announced massive reductions to forces in Europe and the closure of scores of bases in the coming years. Even the corps headquarters will merge with U.S. Army Europe, currently the top Army command in Europe.

Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Blackwood, currently the top enlisted soldier for the Fort Polk, La.-based 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, will replace Bush at 1st AD, according to a 1st AD spokesman.

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