EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story appeared in the March 12 edition of the Fort Lee Traveller newspaper located at Fort Lee, Va. The subject, Command Sergeant Major Daniel Eubanks, a native of Thomson, is retiring after 29 years of service to his country. He was the highest ranking soldier in the Army's Ordnance Corps, one of the largest corps in the Army. Eubanks and his family will retire in a community near Augusta.
Boxes sit on the floor.
A few strewn papers lay upon a brand new desk.
The walls are empty with the exception of the command sergeant major's charter that rests against it on a shelf.
One look at Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Eubanks' office and one could assess that it is seldom used.
"Actually, I never nailed a nail in the wall," said the 29-year soldier who wrapped up his career as the Ordnance Corps regimental command sergeant major in a change of responsibility ceremony March 12. "I promised myself I wouldn't."
The 29-year soldier, formerly the top enlisted soldier in the Ordnance Corps, made many trips to Fort Lee the past four years but worked mostly out of his office at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., former home of the Corps.
It was from that location that he kept an eye on the 5,000 enlisted soldiers going through training at APG, Redstone Arsenal and 10 other sites all over the country.
But that was just a smidgen of his overall duties. Eubanks was saddled with the enormous responsibility of helping to ensure the Ordnance Schools' Base Realignment and Closure-mandated move from APG and Redstone to Fort Lee was executed without a glitch. The first batch of Ordnance students arrived at Fort Lee for schooling last fall. He modestly defers to others for the successful transition.
"I tell you one thing, it was a team effort," he said. "If it wasn't for the Ordnance Corps, the Quartermaster Corps and most particularly CASCOM -- all three of us pulling together to make this happen -- I think it really would've more challenging than it was."
The move was monumental. A $700 million dollar campus was built from scratch, and the Ordnance School had to balance gradual reductions in school operations at the losing installations with construction, logistical and requirements and the eventual school operations at Fort Lee. There were other issues as well.
"Personnel management has been a challenge," said the Thomson native, noting that several soldiers were moved to Fort Lee to ready training facilities and receive new students.
It was and continues to be a fragile situation. Eubanks credits Gayle A. Olszyk, deputy to the commander, Ordnance School, with helping to manage the process. She moved out to Fort Lee four years ago and has worn several hats to facilitate the move, including that of the regimental command sergeant major.
"There were times when I didn't have an enlisted presence down here," said Eubanks, "but Ms. Gayle Olszyk was calling me at Aberdeen: 'Sergeant major, how do you want this to look,' talking to me about the dining facility, talking to me about the barracks... As a Civilian who's never been in the military, to be that proactive and that active in ensuring that are soldiers were taken care of, my hat is always off to her."
But Eubanks needed the support from individuals like Olszyk. The consolidation of the schools at APG and Redstone was more complicated than it looked on paper. There was a cultural divide, and the perception was widespread.
"There was a time in our history when some felt like there was two different Corps," said Eubanks. "There was the electronic maintenance-missile side of the house down there at Redstone and then there's the mechanical maintenance side of the house, which is predominately headquartered at APG.'
The explosive ordnance disposal community, which is moving its department to Fort A.P. Hill, was also a part of the fragmented equation. Eubanks thought if there was going to a physical consolidation at Fort Lee, the Ordnance Corps needed to attain a one-team concept. He launched an information campaign to educate his soldiers about the Corps, its makeup and its mission.
"For the last four years I've been trying to put out information throughout the Army and even in different countries to ensure everyone knows about our corps," said Eubanks.
"I really believe that we have made a great deal of progress over the past four years, ensuring that our soldiers understand where we are, what we're all about, what we stand for, and more importantly, where we're headed."
With his work done, Eubanks is now headed toward a more stable life. He'll leave knowing that his efforts as a leader and soldier were rooted in a deep sense of integrity.
"If you do what's right, everything else will fall into place. That's something I truly believe in."
Eubanks also believes in family and community. He and his wife, retired Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jenifer Eubanks, have five children, two who are school-aged. The couple has built a house in Georgia, not far from Fort Gordon and his hometown. He said he wants be a productive member of society.
"I didn't have much growing up, and I want to give back," said Eubanks, a self-professed country boy. "This thing they call welfare, food stamps, outhouse -- those are the things that I had. But now I have been blessed with so much more."