After 25 years of active-duty service U.S. Army Infantry School Command Sergeant Major CSM Matthew C. Walker will turn over the reins Tuesday in a change of responsibility ceremony to CSM Steven W. McClaflin.
As he considers a transition to civilian life, Walker said he has some regret. “There’s nothing I would do differently,” he said, “but time goes quickly … and you think you’re going to be doing something for a long time and you look back over the years you were here and it seems very short. So I regret that I don’t have more time here at Fort Benning to serve in the Infantry School.”
Walker said his first 90 days at “Fort Beginning” were mind-changing, life-changing for a young man from Rhode Island. For Infantrymen, the follow-on training at the Ranger School, Airborne School, Pathfinder and Jumpmaster are a common experience.
While Walker has been to those schools, and many more, his first duty assignment, ironically, was Fort Knox, Ky., home of the Armor School, which is moving here as part of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.“Pretty soon, we will have tanks rolling down the roads all over Fort Benning,” Walker said. “And (the transition to the Maneuver Center of Excellence) will go without a glitch, I guarantee it.”
Walker, who was a drill sergeant and first sergeant in the Infantry Training Brigade, said the memory that stands out most during his current tour is the opening of the National Infantry Museum and the first graduation at the event, he said.“I can’t express the pride you feel as a senior Infantryman … looking at something like that is just incredible.”
Walker deployed in support of combat operations in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq with the 2nd and 3rd Ranger Battalions, 75th Ranger Regiment, and also served as the command sergeant major for the 3rd Ranger Battalion and Ranger Training Brigade.He has served in every leadership position the Infantry.
The U.S. Army Infantry School change of responsibility ceremony is at 11 a.m. Tuesday outside Ridgway Hall, Building 35, the post headquarters building.
McClaflin, coming from Germany and the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, “is an outstanding Infantryman, an outstanding leader,” Walker said.
Walker and his wife, Laura, plan to remain in the Columbus area after his retirement from the Army.“This is an outstanding community … The Chattahoochee Valley community is the best I’ve ever served in.”