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Embracing change: MDNG hosts change of responsibility ceremony

Article by Cpl. Elizabeth Scott, Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office

The Maryland National Guard held a change of responsibility ceremony for Command Sgt. Maj. Perlisa Wilson, the organization’s first female senior enlisted leader, on Dec. 8, 2018, at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.

Maj. Gen. Linda L. Singh, the adjutant general of Maryland, presided over the ceremony which formally introduced Wilson, as the new SEL, and acknowledged the departure of Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard from the position.

Singh described Wilson as a quiet, but ever-present leader, and someone who know talent management better than most.

“I know that she’s going to do an amazing job,” said Singh.

Wilson took time during her remarks remember MDNG service members and family members that had passed away in 2018, with flowers given to different representative in the audience.

Afterwards, Wilson thanked Beyard for what he has done for her and the organization.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Beyard, thank you for setting the pace, and being a trail blazer in our organization,” said Wilson. “You have mentored so many of us and given opportunities to soldiers of which we never thought would be possible you are truly the epidemy of an NCO, and I can only hope to continue in your success.”

Wilson not only reflected on the past. She spoke about what is to come.

“To the soldiers and airmen of the Maryland National Guard, I look forward to serving you,” said Wilson. “I look forward to being your senior enlisted leader. I look forward to your advancement, your excellence, your motivation, and your striving.”

The ceremony included the exchange of the noncommissioned officer sword. Although no longer standard issue for service members, the sword is a symbol of the authority of the noncommissioned officer.

The SEL serves as the principle enlisted advisor to the adjutant general. This includes enforcing standards, developing policies on enlisted matters and making recommendations to improve the quality of life for Maryland National Guard soldiers, airmen and their families.

“It can’t be a relationship where your constantly at battle with one another,” said Singh. “You have to be completely in sync.”

The ceremony also took time to reflect on Beyard’s time as the SEL.

“I know that this is a bittersweet moment for me, but I know change is inevitable,” said Singh. “He has been a friend. He has been a confidant.”

Beyard reflected on working to find and mentor those service members who showed promise, growing the Best Warrior Competition, and the State Partnership Program.

“I want to thank the many officers, NCOs, and soldiers and airmen in Maryland who I work with who always passed along advice, with great vision, wisdom and never let me down.”

Beyard also thanked Singh because she empowered him to be successful.

“I look forward to moving this organization to the next level of excellence and success,” said Wilson. “We have work to do, and I know that this is the best team, and I am excited about what we accomplish together.”


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