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May 9, 2013
The responsibilities for the training and welfare of the Missouri Army National Guard Soldiers in the 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, headquartered in Kansas City, were passed to Command Sgt. Maj. John Sportsman from Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Lederle during a change of responsibility ceremony Sunday, May 5.
As a civilian, Sportsman is a maintenance technician at Northwest Missouri State University. He is supported by his wife, Debbie, and their children, Tim Miller and Kennedy Sportsman.
For the past 33 years, Sportsman, of Maitland, has been a Missouri Citizen-Soldier. He comes to the brigade after serving the past six years as the command sergeant major for the 1-129th Field Artillery Battalion headquartered in Maryville, which boasts about 500 artillerymen. Sportsman will now help oversee almost 2,000 guardsmen with units spread across Missouri.
Sportsman has spent his entire career in the field artillery, and except for one year he has been with the 129th.
“The field artillery is in my heart,” said Sportsman. “It’s a new chapter in my career. I’m moving up, not out. We’ve got some great people that will fill my shoes, so I'm not worried about the 129th at all.”
As the brigade command sergeant major, it is Sportsman’s role to be the principal advisor for all enlisted-related issues, particularly those affecting training and quality of life for his Soldiers. The noncommissioned officer corps is known as the backbone of the Army and he takes that charge very seriously.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Sportsman is a highly-qualified professional soldier that I know will perform in an exceptional manner as he helps lead this unit in the coming years,” said Col. William Ward, commander of the 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “He has done an incredible job supporting the enlisted soldiers and providing numerous commanders with expert advice and the wisdom three decades of service brings to bear. He is ready for a new challenge and is expertly qualified to help lead this unit.”
Sportsman has a distinguished military career with two deployments. In 2005, he deployed in support of Operation Noble Eagle during a security forces mission to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In 2008, he deployed to Kosovo on a peace keeping mission.
Sportsman's military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and various campaign, unit and service awards.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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