Command Sergeant Major Stephen Helton filled the vacancy of command sergeant major of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 7th Infantry Division at a change of responsibility ceremony in front of the division’s headquarters at Harrison Hall on Lewis Main Jan. 5.
The position had been vacant since August, when previous Command Sgt. Maj. Jack Love took a position in Afghanistan.
Helton comes to JBLM from the Special Operations Aviation Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he also served as command sergeant major.
“When you look at (Helton’s) bio, you’ll see he’s had all the tough assignments,” said Maj. Gen. Willard Burleson III, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, as he introduced Helton at the ceremony.
Burleson spoke about Helton’s prior positions and dedication to his service and his family.
“He’s ready, and he has my complete confidence,” Burleson said.
Helton expressed his appreciation for the Bayonet Division and his opportunity to fill the 7th Infantry Division vacancy.
“It’s difficult to properly express how honored I am to have been selected as the command sergeant major of this storied division,” he said. “As I reflect on the rich history, lineage, and extraordinary record of combat, I’m struck with the gravity of this position and truly humbled to represent the Bayonet Division as its senior noncommissioned officer. “I will represent you with pride and advocate for your training, readiness and resources.”
Helton also took a few moments to thank his wife, U.S. Army veteran, Leslie Helton, and the couple’s 13-year-old son, Kai, an eighth-grader at Mann Middle School in Lakewood, for their love, support and sacrifice.
Helton began his military career as a Scout Helicopter Crew Chief in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Oct. 3, 1990. He went through advanced individual training at Fort Rucker, Ala.
He served in various positions in Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
Helton participated in numerous deployments, including Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti 1994; Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011; and Operation Enduring Freedom 2013.
He is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Helton earned an associate’s degree in general studies from Central Texas College, Killeen, Texas.
He also has earned numerous certificates from various military training and leadership courses.
Helton’s awards and decorations include: the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Master Aviation Badge; Parachutist Badge and the Assault Badge. He’s also the recipient of the Honorable Order of Saint Michael (Bronze Award) and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold).