Sapper Eagles assigned to 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), bade farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Eugene Brown and welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Oscar Contrerasvasquez Aug. 28 during a change of responsibility ceremony.
During his speech, the now-former Sapper Eagle 7 reflected on his time in the brigade and mentioned he was exceptionally proud to come back to the same unit he served in as a platoon sergeant 10 years earlier.
“I loved this unit so much I requested it while at United States Army Sergeants Major Academy,” he said.
Brown spoke of the battalion’s success, excellent leadership within the battalion and the integral value of Soldiers through a few personal stories from his tenure as the 326th BEB senior enlisted adviser.
With great pride in his unit, Brown said the battalion invigorated the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club and boasts the most members within the brigade, which is a testament to the professionalism of the unit’s Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
During his tenure, 326th BEB assumed a joint mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve dedicated to the enduring defeat of ISIS. The Sapper Eagles were deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The battalion returned from that nine-month deployment in October 2019 and has since been working hard preparing for their training rotation to Joint Readiness Training Center-Fort Polk, Louisiana, while adapting to the current COVID-19 environment.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Burkhart, commander of 326th BEB, spoke highly of the Sapper Eagle battalion and Brown’s efforts while serving as its command sergeant major
“You joined us while we were in the box at JRTC,” Burkhart said. “It takes a special person to lead all of the complexities within this battalion to enable this brigade. During (Operation Inherent Resolve) you traveled all over the country of Iraq to check on our Soldiers and personally ensured that every one of our Sapper Eagles came home safe. I couldn’t have asked for a better battle buddy.”
Contrerasvasquez is grateful to be part of the historic unit, he said, and will pick up exactly where Brown left off.
“I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to serve in this great organization and be a part of Bastogne’s rich history,” Contrerasvasquez said. “To my wife, Tanja, you are my foundation and I would not be here without you.”
Burkhart praised the new senior enlisted adviser and welcomed his Family to the Bastogne team.
“Command Sergeant Major Contrerasvasquez is a phenomenal leader and is the right man for the job to take us to the next level,” Burkhart said. “As one great Family departs another one comes in.”