In a change of responsibility ceremony held Tuesday morning on Fort Benning, Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew C. Walker relinquished his position as the top non-commissioned officer of the U.S. Infantry School to Command Sgt. Maj. Steven W. McClaflin.
A crowd of approximately 150 soldiers and civilians gathered outside Building 35 at 11 a.m. to welcome the school’s 29th command sergeant major and say goodbye to Walker, whose 25-year military career has come to an end. It was one of the first changes of a key position on post since the Maneuver Center of Excellence was officially activated on Oct. 1.
During a Feb. 10 interview with the outgoing command sergeant major, Walker admitted that he would step down from the position he’s held at Fort Benning for the last 2 1/2 years 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 then said. “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.”
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During his tearful exit speech, Walker thanked his wife, Laura Walker, and his children for their support over the years.
McClaflin is no stranger to Fort Benning. He enlisted in the Army in January 1985 and attended Infantry Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training on post. He has also completed Airborne School, Ranger School and Jumpmaster School on Fort Benning.
McClaflin, a native of Hazleton, Md., and a 25-year active duty veteran, has held numerous leadership positions to include squad leader; section leader; drill sergeant; Ranger instructor; rifle platoon sergeant; battalion operations sergeant; first sergeant; battalion command sergeant major; and brigade command sergeant major.
McClaflin and his wife, Jackie McClaflin, have two daughters, Lauren, 16, and Lindsey, 12.