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Joint Chiefs Chairman Welcomes Military's New Top Enlisted Member

Dec. 13, 2019 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Responsibility as the U.S. military's top enlisted service member changed hands at a ceremony hosted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Wayne Troxell retired at the ceremony, turning the position over to Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez.

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In swearing in the new SEAC, Milley emphasized that the oath of office is sacred, noting the United States is the only nation that takes an oath to an idea. "It's an idea embedded in a piece of paper called the Constitution," he said.

Members of the military swear an oath to, if necessary, "die or suffer grievous wounds for this idea, to separate from our families and sacrifice for this idea," he said. "It's a very powerful idea."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez face each other and raise their right hands.
Oath of Office
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley administers the oath of office to Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Dec. 13, 2019. With Colon-Lopez is his wife, Janet.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro, DOD
VIRIN: 191213-D-PB383-003Y
The wife of Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez hands him a jacket.
New Jacket
Janet Colon-Lopez, wife of Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez, helps her husband put on his new jacket during a change of responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Dec. 13, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro, DOD
VIRIN: 191213-D-PB383-005Y

Milley said a number of nations have emulated the idea over the last two centuries and that it's an idea America's enemies fear. 

This idea, he said, is that gender, race, ethnicity, religion, income level and sexual preference do not matter.

"The idea says that under these colors of red, white and blue, every single one of us is an American," the chairman said. "And every one of us is born free and equal." People will rise based on their knowledge, skills, attributes and talents, and they will be judged by the content of their character, the general added. 

Colon-Lopez is now the fourth SEAC.

Following the oath of office ceremony that completed the transition of responsibility from Troxell to Colon-Lopez, retired Army Gen. Curtis M. Scapparrotti presented the Defense Superior Service Medal to Troxell for, among other things, "providing trusted and insightful guidance to the chairman on a vast array of complex military initiatives and long-term personnel issues." Troxell was Scaparrotti's senior enlisted leader at U.S. Forces Korea when he was selected for the SEAC position.

Two service members shake hands as others look on.
Ceremony Handshake
Retired Army Gen. Curtis M. Scapparrotti congratulates Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Wayne Troxell during a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Dec. 13, 2019. Scapparrotti presented the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Presidential Certificate of Achievement and the Certificate of Retirement to Troxell during the event.
Photo By: Army Sgt. James K. McCann, DOD
VIRIN: 191213-D-SW162-1395Y

Scaparrotti also presented Troxell with the Presidential Certificate of Achievement and the Certificate of Retirement. He  presented Troxell's wife, Sandra, with the DOD Distinguished Public Service Award for her volunteer work with service members and their families and an advocate for quality-of-life issues.