FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Gibbs took responsibility as the senior noncommissioned officer of the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion from Command Sgt. Maj. Dempsey O. Whitt June 13, 2019, in a change of responsibility ceremony held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Both command sergeants majors are members of the Virginia National Guard. This is the first time in the twelve-year history of the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion in which two Virginia National Guard command sergeants majors took responsibility back to back of the organization. This position is an active duty, title 10, one-year commitment with the opportunity to extend beyond the one-year tour.
Whitt was selected to serve as the new 329th Regional Support Group command sergeant major, according to an announcement made Jan. 1, 2019, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia.
“This was the toughest, yet most rewarding job I was assigned in the Army in 35 years of service,” said Whitt. “This was the case as we were able to directly affect the lives of those Soldiers and families as they heal. To see Soldiers come in broken, sick, or ill and to see them transition either to honorable veterans status or return to duty, was an honor.”
When Whitt was asked the percentage of Soldiers are return to duty, he stated that during his tenure, the Fort Bragg WTB averaged over 25% return to duty status, while other Warrior Transition Battalions typically return less than 10% back to duty.
Since May 2015, Gibbs was assigned as the Garrison Command Sergeant Major for the Virginia Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia.
“I desire to accomplish the very best quality of care and service to Soldiers transitioning back to the service or transitioning to veteran’s status,” said Gibbs. “In order to accomplish this, I need to build a strong Army team and work closely with our civilian counterparts, noncommissioned officers, as well as officers in order to ensure a collaborative culture exists to meet this intent. I anticipate gleaning a great deal of information and experience from the existing leadership of the organization and I anticipate learning a lot.”
Multiple members of the Virginia National Guard were present for the ceremony to provide support and encouragement as Whitt relinquished responsibility and Gibbs assumed responsibility. Both Gibbs and Whitt recognized that much of the reason they are able to serve in the capacity they were selected for was due in part to the many mentors and supporters that were in the audience. Members of the Virginia National Guard present for the ceremony included: Command Sgt. Maj., Retired, Cheyenne M. Johnson, Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Howell, Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L, Smith, Jr., Master Sgt. Tracey Mosley, Command Sgt. Maj. Henry A. Motley and Col. Paul Gravely.
The change of responsibility ceremony began with Whitt receiving a meritorious service medal for distinguishing himself by outstanding achievement and service to the Warrior Transition Battalion. Additionally, Virginia Whitt was awarded the Military Spouse Medal by Col. John J. Melton, Fort Bragg Womack Army Medical Center commander, for her dedication and support during her husband’s tenure as the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion Command Sergeant Major. Lt. Col. Steven G. Robins, Warrior Transition Battalion Commander, presented Whitt and Mrs. Whitt with their awards.
“Ginny really had a heart for this work and for the mission of the Warrior Transition Battalion,” said Whitt. She was involved in every opportunity to serve where her schedule allowed. Ginny was involved in the family readiness group and the senior spouse steering committee groups that planned and executed various holiday events.”
The Warrior Transition Battalion was born out of the Army Medical Action Plan, AMAP, which establishes an integrated and comprehensive continuum of care and services for all Soldiers in transition. This plan develops a sustainable system wherein wounded, injured and ill Solders and their families prepare for successful return to duty or transition from the service as productive veterans.
Fort Bragg’s Soldiers in transition represent every major command on the installation including; XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division, 44th Medical Brigade, Special Operations Command, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. The battalion supports all fronts on the overseas contingency operations and routinely receives Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.
When asked what Gibbs anticipated to focus his attention on over the next year besides providing optimal care to the transitioning Soldiers, Gibbs stated, “I simply wish to leave the organization better.”
Biographies of Gibbs and Whitt
Gibbs enlisted in the U.S. Army Jan. 27, 1988, as a cannon crewmember and served in a variety of units as a field artilleryman. He then transferred to the Virginia National Guard in 1992 and was assigned as a gunner with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team . He held a variety of positions within 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment culminating as first sergeant of the Hampton-based Battery B, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment during their deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He was then selected to serve as first sergeant with Norfolk-based Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment during their deployment to Iraq. In 2011, Gibbs was selected as the command sergeant major for 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment.
Gibbs is a graduate of the Nominative Leaders Course, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, the First Sergeants Course, Multiple Launch Rocket System Operators Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, Battle Focused Instructor Course, the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course and Primary Leadership Development Course.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and is a recipient of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
Gibbs is supported and encouraged by his wife, Barbara Ann Kelly-Gibbs and his three daughters: Kellian, Kayla, and Kassidy.
Although Whitt calls Richmond home, he is originally from western Virginia. He is married to his high school sweetheart of 35 years, they have two adult children, and are proud to call themselves grandparents to two grandchildren.
Whitt has a total of 28 years in the Army, 22 of those years as a member of the Virginia National Guard. Whitt served on active duty for six years as a multiple launch rocket systems crewmember and then enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard after a six-year break in service.
Upon enlistment into the Virginia National Guard, he was awarded the military skill identifier as a combat medic as he was a nationally-registered paramedic.
Whitt has served in most every leadership position during his career up to command sergeant major. His previous assignments include 29th Infantry Division, Regional Police Advisory Command, Medical Command, 34th Civil Support Team, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 21st Field Artillery, and 76th Field Artillery.
Whitt’s military and civilian education includes all levels of the noncommissioned officer education system and the Army’s Sergeants Major Academy. Whitt is a graduate of the first sergeant course, civil support team course, chemistry of hazardous material course, hazardous materials specialist course and retention course. Whitt is a graduate of the Alexandria Regional Technical College with a certification in Paramedic Studies. Additionally, Whitt has completed 101 credit hours toward his bachelor’s degree from Liberty University.