McConville, Grinston Step Down After 4 Years

McConville, Grinston Step Down After 4 Years

Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston
Photo by: U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Kiara Flowers-Jones

After leading the Army together for four years, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston stepped down from their posts Aug. 4.

McConville, the 40th Army chief of staff, relinquished responsibility to Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George. George has been nominated to be the next Army chief of staff, but he must still be confirmed by the Senate.

Grinston, the 16th sergeant major of the Army, turned over responsibility to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Weimer, who most recently was the senior enlisted leader for Army Special Operations Command.

McConville and Grinston have been “truly incredible teammates,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said during a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia. “During four consequential years, these two men led our soldiers with honor and demonstrated that one of the Army’s greatest strengths is its ability to adapt with speed and strength to new challenges.”

McConville has been the “consistent and persistent leader that the Army has needed these last four years,” Wormuth said. “Our Army will be stronger and better prepared thanks to your efforts.”

Army leaders could always count on Grinston for honesty and sound advice, Wormuth said. “We have counted on him to speak up, and he has always excelled at his mission,” she said. “You have been an inspiration, SMA, and you will truly be missed.”

McConville said he is “one of the luckiest guys alive because I’ve had the honor of serving with the world’s greatest people.” During his service, particularly as Army chief of staff, he has seen soldiers do “the most incredible things during the most challenging times,” McConville said. From responding to crises in the Middle East and Europe to providing hope and relief to communities grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, soldiers have answered whenever the nation has called, McConville said.

“I cannot be more proud to have served as the 40th chief of staff of the Army,” he said. As he retires, “I take comfort in knowing the Army is in great hands,” McConville said. “The Army has the best leaders I’ve seen in 42 years of service.”

Grinston echoed McConville’s remarks. “The future of our Army is in good hands,” he said. The outgoing sergeant major of the Army said he’s often asked about his legacy. “It’s pretty simple,” he said. “It’s the people. If you want to know what I think my legacy is, it’s those that will follow me.”

In his remarks, George, who became the 38th vice chief of staff last August, said the Army faces many challenges at home and abroad. “But this is not new,” George said. “Facing down challenges both known and unknown is what our Army is built to do. We remain ready today to respond whenever our country calls. Whether it’s large-scale combat operations, disaster response, something in between or something unprecedented, we will be ready, we will adapt, and we will win.”

The Army will aggressively tackle any challenge, Weimer said. “Our success will come through cultivating a warrior culture grounded by personal discipline and personal courage,” he said. Soldiers will be “disciplined and brilliant at the basics to ensure we’re ready now and ready to handle the most complex problems here to come,” Weimer said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised McConville and Grinston for their service and expressed confidence in George and Weimer.

“We’ll deter conflict where we can, but if we have to defend ourselves, we will fight and we will win—and we will win decisively—and that’s because of the leaders that we are honoring today,” Austin said. “It’s because of all our selfless soldiers who raise their hands to serve, and it’s because of your commitment to make our country stronger and our world safer. The United States Army has never failed its mission for the American people, and it never will.”