49th Trans' CSM passes the saber

Story and Photos by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas — Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Bivens replaced Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Knox as 49th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)’s senior noncommissioned officer at a ceremony at 15th SB here, Nov. 25.

Special Troops Battalion, 15th SB Soldiers lined the back of the 49th’s formations with all the state flags as Knox passed the traditional NCO Saber to Lt. Col. Peter Haas, commander 49th Trans, who passed it to Bivens.

The passing of the NCO saber represents the passing of authority from the outgoing sergeant major to the incoming one.

Haas highly praised Knox, a Frankford, Del., native with 29 years of Soldiering experience. He also explained what things were like when Knox joined the Army.

“Jimmy Carter was the president, the space shuttle had not made its maiden voyage, all phones were plugged into the wall, and typing was done on a typewriter,” Haas said.

Haas also attributed the 49th’s achievements directly to Knox’s efforts and explained Knox’s outlook on things with a story about two majors. Haas said the two were debating about whether or not a glass was half empty or half full near to Knox’s office, which irritated him. Knox came out and explained his view to the officers.

“Gentlemen, it doesn’t matter … you’re both wrong. All it means is the glass is twice as big as it needs to be,” Knox said, according to Haas.

Knox continuously shared his experience with both officers and enlisted, Haas said.

“He always had time for Soldiers, no matter how much was put on his plate,” Haas explained.

“There are hundreds of Soldiers who will never forget what he did for them … that’s what I would call a meaningful legacy.”

“I would do it all again if I had to,” Knox said. “Because I got to serve with the best Army in the world.”

Knox told Bivens to be prepared as the position was a different experience.

Bivens an Alabaster, Ala., native served as first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 561st Corps Support Battalion, and 372nd Transportation Company, 106th Transportation Battalion, Fort Campbell, Ky. He also served as NCO in charge of Operations 129th Corps Support Battalion, Fort Campbell. He was an observer controller trainer for 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Los Alamitos, Calif., and a first sergeant instructor at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Bivens’ education includes Air Assault School, USASMA, Equal Opportunity Leader Course, Basic Instructor Course and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts.

His awards and decorations include Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with five oak leave clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters.

He is married to Tanya Bivens and has three children.


Lt. Col. Peter Haas, 49th Trans commander, passes the Noncommissioned Officer Saber to the incoming Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Bivens, a gesture representing the passing of responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Knox to Bivens, here, Nov. 26. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)