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Story by: Major Al Phillips - 27th IBCT PAO
Dated: Thu, Aug 6, 2015
Boom. Boom! BOOM!
That’s the sound of artillery and it never gets old for Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Wilson.
Wilson, a Rochester resident, and the top enlisted Soldier in the New York National Guard, pulled the lanyard on a cannon for the last time on July 24, 2015 as he visited the 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery and the 27th Infantry Brigade at Fort Drum. Wilson, who concludes more than 39 years of service in the fall, sent a round downrange from an M117 howitzer as his fellow artillerymen watched.
They plan to present the shell casing from that final round to him at a later time.
“I could think of no better way for the state command sergeant major to mark his last field training exercise than to do so with the 27th Infantry Brigade and the 258th,” said 27th Brigade Command Sgt. Major Tom Ciampolillo.
“When he first started, he was with the horse stables,” Ciampolillo added with a chuckle.
“We really wanted the state command sergeant major to have a proper send off and one that was meaningful and lived up to what is means to be an artilleryman,” he added.
“It is always great to have the command sergeant major visit you on the firing line and a great honor have him visit my section and shoot his last artillery round before retirement,” said Staff Sgt. Carmello Reyes, the gun chief from 2nd Platoon Batter B. “I hope it brings him and the men of this battery good memories in the years to come,” he added.
Wilson, spent more than 27 years with the 1st Battalion -209th Field Artillery, and the 1st Battalion-156 Field Artillery at the platoon, company, and battalion levels. Both units were deactivated as the New York Army National Guard reorganized, but Wilson continued his career.
After leaving the artillery he served as a command sergeant major for the 42nd Engineer Brigade in Iraq in 2005, and the 53rd Troop Command during state responses to Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“It’s been fun back on the line with the Soldiers,” Wilson said.
“It’s been fun back on the lines with the guys and this makes my upcoming retirement bitter-sweet,” Wilson said.
Retirement, though, is something he is looking forward to, Wilson added. “It is time to spend time with the grandkids, but it felt great out there,” he said. Wilsons’s visit to the Fort Drum also included visiting troops from the different battalions, several key meetings and the presentation of Command Coins of Excellence to Soldiers who did well during the three week training eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise known as XCTC.
The 27th Infantry Brigade is in the final phase of a training build up for a deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana considered the “Super Bowl” of Army training focused on improving unit readiness by providing highly realistic, stressful, joint and combined arms training across the full spectrum of conflict (current and future).
The JRTC is one of the United States Army’s three “Dirt” Combat Training Centers resourced to train infantry brigade task forces and their subordinate elements in the Joint Contemporary Operational Environment.