In this Ohio Army National Guard photo, Jones, center, as state command sergeant major, visits with soldiers of the 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas after they had just returned from an overseas deployment in summer 2019. (Photo submitted)
A Marysville native will soon retire from the highest enlisted position in the Ohio Army National Guard.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Jones performed the duties as the eighth Ohio Army National Guard (OHARNG) state command sergeant major from Sept. 17, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2019. He is scheduled to retire from the military on Nov. 30, 2019.
CSM Jones has spent 38 years in the U.S. Army, including 34 in the Ohio Army National Guard. He served in a variety of leadership positions, from scout to state command sergeant major.
He joined the Army in October 1980 and left active duty for the OHARNG in 1985.
He said he didn’t initially think he would make the military his career, but credited those around him with helping to reach the ranks he did.
“I was blessed to serve with many great noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and soldiers that coached and mentored me, and made me a better NCO, soldier and person,” he wrote in a letter prior to his retirement.
“The Army is a team and my teammates throughout the years have lifted me up and supported me and my family.”
As state command sergeant major, Jones was the principal enlisted advisor to the assistant adjutant general for the Army.
He observed training and all matters concerning the more than 10,000 enlisted soldiers of the OHARNG and their families.
While serving as state command sergeant major, he said his priority was ensuring younger NCOs stayed safe by enforcing standards in discipline.
“That is what saves lives in combat,” he said in an interview with the OHARNG. “You know, I hate to sound trite but I’ve seen it firsthand.”
He listed examples of the ways following standards have prevented injuries, including eye protection saving people’s eyesight and seatbelts saving gunners lives when their vehicle rolled.
“If we – if young noncommissioned officers… are passionate or enthusiastic about enforcing standards and discipline, that’s the base of discipline for an Army,” he said. “And a disciplined Army can do anything.”
Being disciplined is especially important in today’s National Guard, which CSM Jones said has evolved since his enlistment.
“We are no longer strategic reserve, we’re not even an operational reserve, we are part of the operational Army on a daily basis,” he said.
For that reason, CSM Jones said the National Guard mobilizes soldiers to serve around the globe, anywhere from Korea to Syria.
While CSM Jones has spent the past seven years preparing NCOs and soldiers for these missions, he said he is confident that work will carry on following his retirement.
After CSM Jones’ retirement at the end of this month, CSM Dwight S. Chambliss will assume the role of state command sergeant major.
“Under his leadership, I am positive the OHARNG will aspire to new heights and accomplish many great things,” CSM Jones said.
Following decades of service, CSM Jones said he came to love his unit and the Guard, who have supported him through his whole career.
“I could never have achieved what I did without the help and assistance of many people and for that I am eternally grateful,” he said. “You have made my tenure here both enjoyable and productive.”
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