Guden leaves a legacy as he bids farewell to military service
Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Guden, previous command sergeant major, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, officially retired from the Army following nearly 34 years of dedicated service at a retirement ceremony, Sept. 3, 2020, at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
The day before, he passed the TRADOC guidon on to his successor, Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel T. Hendrex, at a change of responsibility ceremony, Sept. 2.
As a proud Green Bay Packers fan, and team shareholder, Guden grew up in Medford, Wisconsin, and enlisted into the Army in February of 1987, and reported to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for Basic Combat Training July 28, 1987.
“I’m going to miss a lot, but I think I’ll miss putting on the uniform every day the most,” Guden said shortly before his retirement ceremony. “Being part of an organization, where for the most part, everyone looks the same. Not necessarily the color of our skin, or our gender, but the fact that we’re all part of something and we all have the same basic goals. No matter what is thrown at us, what hurdles we face, we face them together as one. That’s uniformity.”
Guden’s final stop in his Army journey began on July 13, 2018, when he assumed the responsibility of becoming TRADOC’s command sergeant major. There, he was proud of many accomplishments, but what stands out most to him is his work with noncommissioned officer professional leadership, shaping the NCO Strategy, and his involvement with the Expert Soldier Badge.
“From his earliest days as a young Soldier, Sergeant Major Guden was destined to be the TRADOC Command Sergeant Major,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk II, TRADOC commanding general, at the change of responsibility ceremony. “As a Private going through Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Tim found himself on a cleanup detail in his company’s supply area. As he helped throw out and reorganize a bunch of stuff, he found two command sergeant major ranks stapled together that, in his words, “looked cool.” One of them was ripped, but he decided to take the rank that was still intact and put it in his pocket. For the last 25 months, that rank, the rank that then-Private Guden as a student in TRADOC stuffed into his pocket, hung on the door of his office here in the TRADOC Headquarters.”
During Guden’s illustrious career, he has held numerous leadership positions ranging from team leader to brigade command sergeant major in Signal, Cavalry, Aviation, Intelligence, Armor and Infantry units. When asked, some of his most fond memories came very early in his career when he was a squad leader in an infantry unit.
“I’ve been pondering things quite a bit recently as I’m about to retire,” Guden said. “But as a squad leader for a long range surveillance unit, I was where the rubber meets the road, as they say. I had the ability to change, influence and provide purpose, motivation, direction, and training at the individual level. It was a true example of Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston’s “this is my squad” initiative.
“Those were my key developmental times as a Soldier, as a leader, that’s how I became the Soldier I am today. Those foundational units in the Army are very important in every Soldier’s career. For instance, you can’t have blindfolds on and then get to a first sergeant position, then take that blind fold off and say, “Ok, I made it to first sergeant now, now let me start being a first sergeant.” You’ve missed everything you needed to develop your ability to become a good first sergeant.”
Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of U. S. Africa Command, and most-recent previous TRADOC commander, sent a note from Stuttgart, Germany, which read “now you take off your helmet and hang your sword above the mantle, to be drawn again – God willing – only in reminiscence with gray haired comrades and in the company of good spirits. You are a hell of a Soldier, leader, and battle buddy, you’re what right looks like.”
Duty in TRADOC is not a walk in the park, nor should it be considered time to take a knee, said Guden during the change of responsibility ceremony. “TRADOC requires the best of every Soldier assigned. The best because our Army requires it, and our Soldiers deserve it.”
Guden has served two year-long overseas assignments in both Korea and Panama. His stateside assignments include: Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort McNair, Washington D.C.; and West Point, New York.
His combat deployments include four tours in Iraq, one tour in Afghanistan, and one tour in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Guden and his family intend on settling into their home in North Carolina and are looking forward to the next chapter of their life.