WASHINGTON, DC (12/05/2017) (readMedia)-- Command Sgt. Maj. Michael F. Brooks became the District of Columbia National Guard's Senior Enlisted Leader during an assumption of responsibility ceremony in the D.C. National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2017.
The assumption of responsibility was part of the D.C. National Guard's 2017 Awards and Decorations Ceremony.
As the senior enlisted leader, Brooks becomes the principle advisor to the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard in all facets of the organization's operations with special emphasis on enlisted matters.
"He [Brooks] is a magnificent warrior who has worn the cloth of the United States for more than 24 years," said Brig. Gen. William J. Walker, D.C. National Guard acting commanding general. "He is a combat veteran, well-decorated and extremely deserving of this recognition and opportunity."
Before assuming responsibility, Brooks was awarded the Legion of Merit for his actions as the Command Sgt. Maj. for the D.C. Army National Guard, Land Component Command from 2013-2017. During Brook's tenure, he advised three general officers and served as the Joint Task Force-District of Columbia, Command Sgt. Maj. during the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
A native of Ormond Beach, Fla., Brooks began his military career in 1993 by enlisting in the U.S. Army as an infantryman. His active duty assignments include tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, Eighth U.S. Army's Noncommissioned Officer Academy, XVIII Airborne Corps and the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment. As a member of The Old Guard, Brooks served as a squad leader and joint services casket team leader. He also participated in the burial of unidentified Americans killed in the September 11, 2001, Pentagon attack.
Brooks joined the D.C. Army National Guard in 2005 and became a military policeman with the 372nd Military Police Battalion. In 2007, Brooks deployed to Iraq as the 275th MP Company's first sergeant. He also held positions as the battalion's operations sergeant major and as the D.C. Army National Guard 74th Troop Command's Command Sgt. Maj.
"During my military career, I've had the opportunity to work with and lead some of the nation's finest men and women," Brooks said. "Our Soldiers and Airmen today are the future of this nation. As leaders, we need to understand that our Soldier's and Airmen's questions are not challenges to our authority. We only need to take the time and listen to what they have to say. They just may have the best idea you've ever heard and one that could change the face of the nation."
Brooks completed the Professional Leadership Development Course and the Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course as a commandant's list recipient. He has also completed KEYSTONE-Command Senior Enlisted Leader Course in joint and combined studies and the U.S. Army War College's Nominative Leader Course.
"NCOs make things happen," Brooks said. "We are given a plan, whether it is an operations or training plan or strategic guidance, and we take that plan and turn it into action. That is the role of a noncommissioned officer. That is what I expect."
In addition to the Legion of Merit, Brook's other significant awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal with bronze star, Multinational Forces Observer Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Superior Unit Award, Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, DCNG Commendation Medal, DCNG Emergency Service Ribbon with star, and DCNG Community Service Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters.
"I will only ask one thing of you: Be better today than you were yesterday," Brooks said. "And tomorrow, be better than you are today, and I guarantee you we will take this organization to the next level."
Brig. Gen. William J. Walker, acting Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard, presents the Legion of Merit award to, Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael F. Brooks during the District of Columbia National Guard Awards and Decorations Ceremony at the Joint Force Headquarters on Dec 3, 2017. The Legion of Merit is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Tyrone Williams/Released)
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael F. Brooks is presented the noncommissioned officer's sword by Brig. Gen. William J. Walker, acting commanding general, District of Columbia National Guard during an assumption of responsibility ceremony at the D.C. National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2017. The Army NCO sword symbolizes the command responsibility and authority entrusted to its recipient. The passing of the sword symbolizes the delegation of authority, and entrusting Brooks with the responsibility and care of the Soldiers and Airmen of the D.C. National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech Sgt. Eric Ritter/Released)
Staff Sgt. Michael F. Brooks (right) as the leader of the joint services casket team during his assignment with the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment. During this time, he participated in the burial of unidentified Americans killed in the September 11, 2001, Pentagon attack. (Courtesy Photo)