New leader for 278th

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By Thomas Greene, for Roane Newspapers
In a change-of-responsibility ceremony earlier this month at Knoxville’s West High School auditorium, Command Sgt. Major Vincent S. Roach took the reins as the regimental command sergeant major of the National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Roach assumed the responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Jennings of Clarksville.

The ceremony included soldiers representing the regiment’s 30 units spread throughout the state and Major Gen. Robert A. Harris, Tennessee’s assistant adjutant General-Army, was the featured speaker.

Harris spoke on the qualities of both Roach and Command Sgt. Maj. Jennings.

Col. Frank McCauley of Kingsport, 278th regimental commander, addressed the soldiers on “honor, responsibility and relationships.”

Jennings bade farewell to the regiment in an emotional speech that included appreciation and recognition of those who supported and served with him and the soldiers he served.

Jennings was recently assigned as Tennessee Army National Guard state command sergeant major, with responsibility for the welfare and career guidance of the Guard’s more than 9,000 enlisted soldiers.

He was presented the Meritorious Service Medal and the Tennessee National Guard Distinguished Service Medal during the ceremony.

Roach enlisted in the Tennessee Guard in 1982 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant as an armored crewman with the 3-109th Armor Battalion.

When the 3-109th was redesignated as part of the Third Squadron of the 278th, Roach reclassified as a mortarman, serving as platoon sergeant.

During the 278th’s deployment to Iraq in 2005, he was the first sergeant of Troop L, 3/278th ACR in Gallatin and Springfield. In 2007 he was selected as the Third Squadron’s command sergeant major, where he deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010.

Roach is the son of the late Bill and Betty Roach and lives in Greenbrier.

He is married to the former Tess South and they have two daughters, Emily and Catlin.

The 278th ACR is the largest National Guard unit in Tennessee and is made up of more than 4,000 enlisted soldiers and officers.

It is headquartered in Knoxville and has armories in 45 cities across the state, including in Rockwood.

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Thomas Greene is a staff sergeant with the 278th ACR public affairs office.