Top Army enlisted spot changes hands

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AUGUSTA, MAINE (06/06/2023) (readMedia)-- On Sunday June 4, in a ceremony in front of family, friends and fellow service members, State Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Dill turned over his responsibilities to Command Sgt. Maj. Alexander Clifford.

The state command sergeant major is the senior enlisted soldier in the Maine National Guard and the senior Army enlisted advisor to the commander of the Maine Army National Guard and the adjutant general.

In his remarks, Clifford laid out his priorities which include improving organizational communications, talent management, and revitalizing the military tradition of drill and ceremony.

While thanking leadership for this opportunity, he commented on the tight-knit family that comes with National Guard service. For Clifford, this became abundantly clear during a close family member's long but successful seven-month battle with cancer.

"During that time I learned the lesson of being able to humble myself and receive help from others," said Clifford. "I could not have made it through that journey without the support of many of you in this room. Thank you."

"The list of those I need to thank is long," said Dill during the retirement portion of the ceremonies. "I couldn't possibly name all those who have helped me in some way, shape or form throughout my career. All of you fall into one of two categories – family or friends. Regardless, I thank each of you for your support and dedication over the years."

"Sgt. Maj. Clifford – thanks to you and your family for your continued service and sacrifice. You are the right team at the right time, and will do amazing things," said Dill. "The continued consistency and transparency you bring is exactly what this organization deserves. I wish you the best of luck my friend."

"Three years ago, almost to the day, I took over this position," Dill continued. "I stated five areas that I wanted to concentrate on during my time as state command sergeant major. The first area was people. Notice I did not say officers, NCOs, or enlisted – I said people. Because underneath the uniform, that is what we are and that is what should matter most."

Dill was presented with the Legion of Merit for his service to the organization during a career that spanned 35 years. He was also presented with gifts from the Maine Senior Enlisted Advisory Council, and from the Region 1 state command sergeants major, representing the Northeast states.

Dill's family members and Clifford's wife were each presented with flowers, acknowledging the importance of family support and the key role family plays in soldiers' and leaders' lives.

Dill entered the Maine Army National Guard as a combat medic in the 314th Ground Ambulance Company in Millinocket, Maine, in March 1988. He has held numerous administrative, training, and operations positions throughout the 133rd Engineer Battalion and the Maine Army National Guard, culminating with assignments as the command sergeant major of the 52nd Troop Command, operations sergeant major at Joint Force Headquarters, and state command sergeant major.

Dill deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 with Company B, 133rd Engineer Battalion. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and was a public school teacher and coach prior to his full time active National Guard service. Dill currently resides in Fayette and has two daughters, Hannah and Sarah.

Clifford hails from Deer Isle and Newport and joined the Maine Army National Guard in 1989 as a tuba player in the 195th Army Band. He has held three first sergeant assignments including the 488th Military Police Company, and served as command sergeant major for the 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, commandant of the 240th Regional Training Institute, and operations sergeant major of the 120th Regional Support Group. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and recently returned from ten months in Poland with the 120th supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve.

A part time guardsman until this assignment, Clifford's civilian career has been in education. Prior to his appointment, he served as an administrator at Maine College of Health Professions, Washington County Community College, and Kennebec Community College.

Clifford holds both a bachelor's and master's degree from Thomas College in Waterville, and a doctorate in leadership and organizational change from Walden University. He and his wife Tina reside in Benton and have three children – Brittany, Courtney, and Anna.


Maine National Guard photos by Maj. Carl Lamb / Released

902: Outgoing State Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Dill prepares to hand off the Army flag to Maj. Gen. Farnham, for passage to incoming State Command Sgt. Maj. Alex Clifford, signifying the passage of responsibility.

922: The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, gives congratulatory remarks to both outgoing and incoming state command sergeants major.

923: Incoming State Command Sgt. Maj. Alex Clifford addresses the formation during the change of responsibility ceremony.

931: Joint Force Headquarters soldiers stand in formation during the changeover.

933: Command Sgt. Maj. Clifford gives his remarks during the changeover.

944: Both command sergeants major bow their heads during the chaplain's invocation.

025: Sgt. Maj. Dill and Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham with Dill's retirement certificate.

211: Sgt. Maj. Dill with his mother and daughters.

970: Sgt. Maj. Clifford gets some congratulations from Lt. Col. John Wilmot.

061: Sgt. Maj. Dill receives congratulations from the Maine Senior Enlisted Advisory Council.