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ORLANDO, Fla. – Military personnel, civilian employees, defense contractors, and family members from the Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) gathered to observe an Army tradition on April 7 during a change of responsibility ceremony for the senior enlisted advisor to the program executive officer.
Sgt. Maj. Tom A. Brown Jr., who hails from Syracuse, New York, became PEO STRI’s top non-commissioned officer after assuming the responsibilities from Sgt. Maj. Steven A. Brown, a native of Webster, Mass., who served in the position since 2020.
Ms. Karen D. H. Saunders, SES, program executive officer for PEO STRI, presided over the ceremonial passing of the colors and spoke during the ceremony about the importance of military ceremonies, role of the senior enlisted advisor, nominative billet selection process, importance of family support and Brown’s many accomplishments.
“Military ceremonies are a tradition in the Army. They bring us together to celebrate an event,” Saunders said. “It also brings us together as a unit. This particular ceremony signifies the passing of the torch from one experienced leader to another.”
Saunders spoke in detail about how the Army benefits from senior enlisted leaders and the impactful role Sgt. Maj. Brown played as a leader, mentor, coach and advisor to not only PEO STRI leadership but the entire workforce.
“I think one of Sgt. Maj. Brown’s greatest qualities is that he is a quiet professional,” Saunders said. “He never seeks to draw attention to himself, but instead looks for ways to promote our people, our mission and our capabilities.”
Saunders also spoke of how she went through the process of selecting a nominative sergeant major, how she carefully reviewed all of the packages for Sgt. Maj. Brown’s replacement, and how one package stood out.
“I received a slate of sergeant majors who were truly, truly impressive,” Saunders said. “As our Army modernizes over the next few years, we will need a sergeant major with exceptional skills and tremendous balance, and we know Sgt. Maj. Dow is the right person for the job.”
Brown, who will be retiring from active duty later this year, kept his remarks brief but spoke about highlighting the mission and telling the PEO STRI story to Army units across the world.
“PEO STRI is a very diverse team of teams; we are Soldiers, civilians, contractors, enlisted, officers, STRI alumni, academia, industry partners. There is no single label for anyone in this room.” Brown said. “We are a community with one single goal – to provide the warfighter with the best possible capability so that he or she can fight and win our nations wars against anyone, anywhere and anytime.”
Brown encouraged everyone in attendance to look around the room, make eye contact, say hello, smile, shake a hand, and give a pat on the back.
“The people in this room are what PEO STRI is all about,” Brown said. “We are PEO STRI, we work for our Soldiers. This is the best job I have ever had.”
Dow, who was joined by a large group of family for the ceremony, said he was honored to be selected for the job and looks forward to supporting the Army’s focus on people, readiness, modernization, building the Army of 2030, and designing the Army of 2040.
“I just really look forward to working with everyone, moving forward, and really unpacking and trying to understand fully what it is that all of you do to make PEO STRI what Sgt. Maj. Brown just described,” Dow said. “And how can I take that message forward and carry the reigns where he has left off.”
The senior enlisted advisor is a critical position at PEO STRI, helping to improve communication and bridge the gap between developing the Army’s simulation, training and instrumentation systems and putting them into the hands of Soldiers who will use them. Interaction between the PEO STRI senior enlisted advisor and Soldiers takes place during Soldier touch points, site visits and equipment fieldings around the world.
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