U.S. Army Infantry School Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew C. Walker will relinquish his position Tuesday to Command Sgt. Maj. Steven W. McClaflin.
It will be one of the first key positions to change since the Maneuver Center of Excellence was officially activated on Oct. 1.
“I don’t leave anything undone,” Walker said. “There’s nothing I would do differently, 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 he will step down as the Infantry School’s top non-commissioned officer feeling a mixture of sadness and anxiety as he prepares to enter the civilian world for the first time in more than two decades.
“I look forward to it with trepidation and an expectation of doing well, I hope,” Walker said of his retirement. “But I’m really nervous about it, obviously as you would be in starting any new endeavor in your life. I’m thinking it will go smoothly.
“I’m just wondering what type of hairstyle will I have,” he added, jokingly.
Walker’s military career spanned 25 years and took him across the country — to stations in Hawaii, California, Washington, Texas and Georgia — and around the globe. He deployed in support of combat operations in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq with the 2nd and 3rd Ranger Battalions and also served as the command sergeant major for the 3rd Ranger Battalion and Ranger Training Brigade.
In fact, he has served in every leadership position in the Infantry, predominately in the Ranger Regiment and as a drill sergeant and first sergeant in the Infantry Training Brigade, both of which are housed at Fort Benning.
Walker came to Fort Benning in March 1985 for One Station Unit Training. The 22-year-old Newport, R.I., native wanted to serve his country as an infantryman. But he had no idea what was in store for him.
“Those experiences in the first 90 days in the Army were probably the most mind-changing, life-changing experiences I’ve ever had,” he said.
Walker returned to Fort Benning throughout his career to attend Ranger School, Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Air Assault School and Pathfinder School.
He also completed Military Freefall School; Drill Sergeant School; all levels of the Non-Commissioned Officer Education System; the Battle Staff Course; the Sergeants Major Academy; the Combined Services Support Program; the Long Range Surveillance Leaders Course; and the Keystone Course.
Looking back on his final assignment, Walker said his fondest memory was of the first basic training graduation to take place at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park last March.
Following his retirement, Walker and his family plan to remain in the Chattahoochee Valley. He said he hopes to continue to work on Fort Benning as a civilian and is in the process of interviewing for a number of jobs on post.
“The Chattahoochee Valley community is the best I’ve ever served in,” Walker said. “I’ve served in an awful lot of Army bases and local communities and I’ve always had an affinity for Columbus.”
Walker will relinquish his position as the 21st command sergeant major of the U.S. Infantry School to McClaflin Tuesday at 11 a.m. on post.