US European Command Welcomes New Senior Enlisted Leader

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Robert V. Abernethy, a South Carolina native, assumed responsibility from U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, who served as the command’s top enlisted adviser since August 2019.


“As the command senior enlisted leader, I have watched and had the opportunity to support so many of our joint and partner forces in this theater. Our asymmetrical advantage and most critical asset is our people … strong and resilient patriots with the ability to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow.”
By U.S. European Command Public Affairs United States European Command Stuttgart, Germany Jun 07, 2022
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Members of U.S. European Command welcomed the command’s new senior enlisted leader in a formal change of responsibility ceremony today.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Robert V. Abernethy, a South Carolina native, assumed responsibility from U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, who served as the command’s top enlisted adviser since August 2019.

Gen. Tod D. Wolters, USEUCOM commander, presided over the event and commended Easton for his “good old fashioned leadership” during the three largest crises in decades – COVID-19, civil unrest, and Russian aggression. Wolters said Easton has the greatest capacity to treat others with dignity and respect and then translate that into good order and discipline. 

“As the command senior enlisted leader, I have watched and had the opportunity to support so many of our joint and partner forces in this theater,” said Easton. “Our asymmetrical advantage and most critical asset is our people … strong and resilient patriots with the ability to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow.”

During his time as USEUCOM’s senior enlisted leader, Easton traveled throughout the 51-country area of responsibility visiting with the more than 82,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians with the unique responsibility of ensuring their ability to operate seamlessly shoulder to shoulder with U.S. Allies and Partners. 

During the handover, Wolters passed the flag from Easton to Abernethy signifying the transfer of responsibility. Remarking on the exceptional expertise and experience of both senior enlisted leaders, Wolters said he wanted to mail their biographies to Vladimir Putin with a note that said, “here you go, pal.” 

“To my teammates in Europe, I am excited about building our relationship and working together to make each of the formations we represent better,” said Abernethy. “To the great team of leaders in this command – I work for you!”

Abernethy, who is a self-proclaimed military brat, began his career in 1987 as an infantryman and has held numerous duty positions, including with The Old Guard, as communications sergeant with 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), a recruiter, and a communications and intelligence sergeant with 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). 

Prior to joining USEUCOM, Abernethy served for almost four years as command sergeant major of U.S. Army Europe and Africa.

In his new role, Abernethy is responsible for advising the commander on a broad range of issues affecting the force, including readiness, professional development, quality of life and resiliency. He is also responsible for mentoring senior enlisted leaders across the theater, including those from NATO Ally and Partner nations.

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About USEUCOM

U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 permanently assigned military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and Partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.

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