FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Jan. 6, 2023) — The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood held a change-of-responsibility ceremony today in Lincoln Hall Auditorium, where Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena relinquished his role as top enlisted leader to Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge Arzabala.
Maj. Gen. James Bonner, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, spoke on Delapena’s commitment and value to the Fort Leonard Wood community over the past two-plus years.
“Our Fort Leonard Wood leaders say he’s everywhere,” Bonner said. “Our Army senior leaders say he’s a force of nature — and they’re all right. He knows our people; he cares for them — all of them. He has helped thousands of trainees, Soldiers, NCOs and officers, and civilians do their best and be their best.”
Bonner highlighted some of Delapena’s achievements during his time here, including spearheading the first- and second-ever Expert Infantry Badge and Expert Soldier Badge testing at Fort Leonard Wood.
By bringing expert badge testing here, Bonner said Delapena gave Soldiers “the opportunity to improve themselves.”
“His leadership ensured the Soldiers across our Army could achieve their hopes and goals,” Bonner said.
Bonner also congratulated Delapena on his selection as the next command sergeant major of the 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“We know you will continue to positively influence the lives of thousands of Soldiers and families,” he said.
To Arzabala, who began his Army career at one station unit training here in 1999 — he also served here as a drill sergeant with the 82nd Chemical Battalion, and later as the 3rd Chemical Brigade command sergeant major from 2019 to 2021 — Bonner said he will be “an incredible asset to our center.”
“We are thrilled to have him and his family back here at MSCoE,” Bonner said.
Delapena called his role and time here “the greatest honor,” and “a humbling experience, that has made a lasting imprint on my career and my life.”
“This assignment has been so rewarding, mainly due to the people and leaders in this room and out there training today,” he said. “Both on and off post, I have witnessed, every day, people who serve with pride and give their all to make this installation the best training center in the United States Army. Thank you for all you do to meet our Army’s needs, to build cohesive teams and to develop our service members. I am very proud to have served with you and by your side.”
Delapena also had kind words — and some advice — for Arzabala.
“This is an incredible team,” Delapena said. “Get to know them and take care of them — and I know you will. They will amaze you with all they can achieve and their passion to take care of people.”
A native of El Paso, Texas, Arzabala most recently served as the command sergeant major for the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He thanked everyone who took time to share this moment with him.
“It is a true privilege to stand before you, and I am honored and humbled to serve Fort Leonard Wood at this capacity,” he said.
Arzabala thanked Bonner for entrusting him with “the greatest national resource: the American Soldier, and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.”
To Delapena, Arzabala expressed his gratitude for a seamless transition.
“It is evident that you have had a tremendous impact on this formation, which is clearly visible across this installation,” he said. “Rest assured that I will hold the ground you have gained and continue to improve the foxhole by developing our teammates to leave better than they arrive.”
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission