RICHMOND, Va. –
Command Sgt. Maj. Alan M. Ferris has been selected to serve as the new 29th Infantry Division command sergeant major, according to an announcement made Oct. 26, 2018, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Ferris succeeds Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Smith, Jr. who now serves as the Virginia Army National Guard command sergeant major. Ferris has served as the Virginia National Guard senior enlisted leader since Dec. 1, 2014, in a traditional Guard status, and his effective date of assignment in the new position will be Dec. 1, 2018.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Ferris has been my trusted advisor for the last four years, and his advice and counsel have been invaluable as the Virginia National Guard has worked to maintain readiness for both our federal and state missions in the challenging environment we now face,” Williams said. “He will now put his decades of experience leading Soldiers in field and garrison environments, as well as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait, to work in helping the 29th Infantry Division meet and exceed its readiness goals.”
Prior to serving as the SEL, Ferris served as the command sergeant major for the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He recently retired as a police lieutenant in the City of Covington Police Department.
Ferris served as the command sergeant major for 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry during the unit’s deployment to Iraq from June 2007 to June 2008. From June 2004 to August 2005 he served in Afghanistan as the CSM mentor and senior enlisted advisor for the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps as part of the Regional Command Assistance Group-Kandahar, Afghanistan. He also deployed with 76th Infantry Brigade from the Indiana National Guard to Afghanistan.
Ferris enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in February 1981 as an infantry Soldier and spent the early years of his career as a rifleman, machine gunner, team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment. In 1997, he became the first sergeant of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry and then served as the first sergeant for the Headquarters Company of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. From 2003 to 2005, he served as an operations noncommissioned officer for 1st Battalion and the 116th IBCT. He was promoted to sergeant major in October 2006 and began serving as the 3rd Battalion command sergeant major.
Ferris is a graduate of the U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, the U.S. Army War College Executive Leaders Course and the Keystone Course from the National Defense University as well as Air Assault and Rappel Master Schools. He has an Associates Degree in Business Management and Criminal Justice from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and a Bachelors Degree from Liberty University in Interdisciplinary Studies.
His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Air Assault Badge.
About the 29th Infantry Division:
Known as the Blue and Gray Division, the 29th Infantry Division is an Army National Guard operational-level headquarters located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, which consists of Soldiers primarily from Maryland and Virginia. Its wartime mission is to provide mission command to subordinate brigades and forces tailored for an assigned mission. It is one of eight divisions in the Army National Guard.
Its origins date back to World War I and is most known for its participation in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in World War II. The 29th recently mobilized Soldiers to participate in Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve, both in the CENTCOM area of operations.
The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment and the 29th Infantry Band are under administrative control of the 29th. The division currently has training relationships with North Carolina National Guard’s 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team and Arkansas National Guard’s 142nd Field Artillery Brigade.