An Air Force Pararescueman is slated to become the military’s most senior enlisted man.
The Pentagon announced that Chief Master Sergeant Ramon “CZ” Colon-Lopez will be the new Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC). The Air Commando will be the fourth holder of the position. Army General Mark Milley is the current Chairman of the JCS.
CMSgt. Colon-Lopez is currently serving as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for Headquarters U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
“A big congratulations to my good friend and brother CMSgt CZ Colon-Lopez on his selection as SEAC 4!” said the incumbent SEAC Army Command Sergeant Major John Troxell in a Facebook post. “Sandra Troxell and I are so excited for you and Janet! You are the right leader to take this position to even greater heights!” SMG Troxell is set to retire in December.
His previous command wished him well on his new assignment, adding that “your dedication to developing African enlisted forces will have long-lasting impacts on both the command and our African partners. We look forward to continuing these efforts and working with you in your new role.”
It is worth noting that after CMSgt. Colon-Lopez assumes his duties, both of the military’s highest leadership position will be held by operators. Early in his career, General Milley was a Special Forces (SF) officer, commanding a Combat Diver Special Force Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA), arguably one of the tougher assignments in the SF community.
CMSgt. Colon-Lopez, on the other hand, has had a long and illustrious career in SOF. After completing the two-year-long physically and mentally arduous Pararescue pipeline, CMSgt. Colon-Lopez served a Pararescueman in the 48th Rescue Squadron. In 1999, he attempted and successfully completed the selection and assessment course for the elite 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24th STS), the Air Force’s Tier 1 unit and part of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). While serving with JSOC, he was part of the initial wave of American SOF units to deploy in Afghanistan. Attached to SEAL Team 6, CMSgt. conducted Direct Action (DA) operations against Al-Qaeda High-Value-Targets (HVTs).
As an operator himself, CMSgt. Colon-Lopez understands the strain that has been placed on the U.S. SOF community after almost two decades of constant combat deployments. That strain has resulted in poor decisions in both the leadership and individual level, shunning a bad light on the community. In his new role as SEAC, CMSgt. Colon-Lopez will be in a better position to advise against the Pentagon’s current Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) – that is, employing SOF as a heal for all remedies, thereby diminishing their effectiveness and hurting force morale.
The next SEAC has deployed numerous times in support of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). His combat deployments include Iraq and Afghanistan, among other countries.
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