NATO new top enlisted named
MONS, Belgium — The responsibilities of NATO's top enlisted leader changed hands during a relief and assumption ceremony held at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe here July 17, 2006.
Marine Gen. James L. Jones, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, presided over the ceremony where Marine Sgt. Maj. Alford L. McMichael was relieved of his duties as NATO's senior noncommissioned officer and passed the responsibilities to incoming Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bartelle.
The event included the traditional passing of a sword from McMichael, to Jones, and then to Bartelle, as a representation of his accepting responsibility for all enlisted personnel in NATO.
McMichael was the first senior noncommissioned officer to preside over Allied Command Operations and was selected and appointed to the position by Jones three years ago. Since assuming his alliance duties, 11 senior enlisted of the armed forces have been identified across NATO and Partnership for Peace countries.
"Sgt. Maj. McMichael was the perfect choice for this assignment in August 2003," said Jones. "He exceeded the expectations for the adventure and accepted challenges placed upon him. With his zeal and creative spirit he created a momentum within the Alliance that will stay in his stead."
Bartelle and McMichael have worked closely together to enhance the noncommissioned officer development programs of other nations. "This is a natural and great handover," Jones said.
In his farewell speech, McMichael noted Bartelle as one of the most exceptional Sergeants Major he has known throughout his 36-year military career. "You will continue to raise our challenge to the majestic heights of continued success," he said to Bartelle.
"I feel extremely fortunate to serve in this capacity and am looking forward to closer interaction with the international community, while collectively enhancing the core competencies of the enlisted personnel, and empowerment of noncommissioned officers," Bartelle said. "It's a continual affirmation of the SACEUR's trust in and commitment to NATO's transformational objectives of defense reform through professionalization of their enlisted force and engaging the NCO corps as a combat multiplier."
In addition to his new job, Bartelle will continue with his previous duties as the senior enlisted leader for the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, through September 2006.
"Our theater is quite an anomaly in the fact that we have two geographic headquarters — one U.S., one international — under the same commander," he said. "This provides a unique opportunity to influence the training and education of both formations, while providing the impetus for quality of life enhancements for their families. Our attempt will be to blur the lines between the two."
During his tenure at EUCOM he has been involved in the development of NATO's enlisted force. Bartelle also initiated and hosted international senior enlisted seminars at the Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, and assisted in developmental plans for international noncommissioned officer professional development.