IZMIR, Turkey – Canadian Army Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Stephen Rice passed the pacing stick of responsibility as NATO’s Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) to Canadian Army CWO Kevin Mathers in a change of responsibility ceremony held June 21, 2019 in front of family, friends and Soldiers at the LANDCOM Headquarters. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. J.T Thomson, the LANDCOM Commander, presided over the ceremony.
"I was blessed to have Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams and Lt. Gen. John Thomson as leaders. Our [CSEL – Commander] relationship was a model across the NATO Command Structure and the NATO Force Structure,” said Rice. "It was an honor to serve as the CSEL.”
During his speech, Thomson thanked Stephen and Karyn Rice for their leadership to LANDCOM. "Change is an inevitable part of life,” said Thomson. "It happens whether we are ready or not. And like to today, sometimes change is bittersweet. Bitter because we say farewell to a trusted teammate that has given his heart and soul to this command. Sweet because we welcome a seasoned and experienced leader that will carry on excellence.”
Thomson continued, "Today, Rice ends his tour as the third [CSEL] for [LANDCOM]. He has led from the front and done so exceedingly well. He is the example of what right looks like. He embodies our motto, ‘For the Soldier.’”
The new CSEL is a cavalryman. CWO Mathers, is coming from being the Chief Instructor at the CWO Robert Osside Institute.
Rice returns to Canada for his next assignment.