Sgt. Trenton Lowery
2nd ABCT
Photos by Sgt. Trenton Lowery
Lt. Col. T. Brian Looney passes the 9th Engineer Battalion colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Saunders, Sept. 7 at Cashe Garden on Fort Stewart.

9th BEB farewells Rodriguez; welcomes Saunders

The 9th Brigade Engineer Battalion, “the Gila Battalion,” 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, hosted a change of responsibility with Command Sgt. Maj. Oscar Rodriguez transferring responsibility as the senior enlisted advisor of the 9th BEB to Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Saunders, Sept. 7 at Cashe Garden on Fort Stewart.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Rodriguez constantly set the standard in word and deed to lead his organization by example,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jaime Lopez, senior enlisted advisor of the 2nd ABCT, “Spartan Brigade,” 3rd ID. “He has left an enduring legacy in the Gila Battalion and will be greatly missed by leaders and Soldiers alike.”

Rodriguez, a native of San Diego, California, thanked his wife, fellow leaders and Soldiers for their hard work and dedication during his 30-months as the 9th BEB command sergeant major. “I want to thank Col. Tillis, Col. O’Neal, Command Sgt. Maj. Lopez, and Command Sgt. Maj. Williams for their leadership and guidance over the last 30 months,” said Rodriguez. “To the officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the Gila Battalion, it was an honor and privilege working and serving with you all.”

Shortly after Rodriguez arrived to the unit, he was sent to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, in April 2019. In early 2020, he deployed to Europe for NATO DEFENDER-2020. Not long into the exercise, the COVID-19 pandemic began. This resulted in a change of mission and the brigade remaining in Europe for six additional months in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Rodriguez is the ardent advocate and driving force of the Gila team,” said Lt. Col. Brian Looney, commander of the 9th BEB, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “His candor, mentorship, ruthless attention to detail, and enforcement of standards and discipline enabled this organization to meet each transition head on and excel.”

Saunders, is a native of Willits, California, and served in the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, and was the senior enlisted operations advisor for the Division engineers for his last assignment.

“To Command Sgt. Maj. Rodriguez, the professionalism and absolute selflessness of your service to the Gila Battalion is admired across the Brigade and Division, and I can only hope to build upon every success story you created,” Saunders said during his closing remarks at the change of responsibility ceremony.

Rodriguez was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his dedicated and outstanding service to the 9th BEB from Col. Terry R. Tillis, commander of 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. For his next duty assignment, he will serve as the command sergeant major for the 5th Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, at Fort Benning.