VNG welcomes new command senior enlisted leader

Command Chief Master Sgt. James J. Profita takes responsibility as the Virginia National Guard Command Senior Enlisted Leader from Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Ferris April 7, 2019, in a ceremony at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

RICHMOND, Va. — Command Chief Master Sgt. James J. Profita took responsibility as the Virginia National Guard Command Senior Enlisted Leader from Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Ferris April 7, 2019, in a ceremony at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond. Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, hosted the ceremony.

Williams thanked Ferris for his four years of outstanding service as the CSEL, and he recognized the significance of Profita being the first Airman to serve as the VNG’s senior noncommissioned officer.

“I think it signifies the importance of our Air component and the fact that we serve as a joint force,” Williams said. “The power and strength of the National Guard and the nation all revolve around how we all work together to build the best combat capabilities for the Army and Air Guard.”

Williams also recognized the VNG alumni in attendance at the ceremony and said, “If it weren’t for our alumni who did the hard work and whose shoulders we stand on, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presents Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Ferris with a replica World War II bayonet in recognition of his outstanding service as the Virginia National Guard Command Senior Enlisted Leader April 7, 2019, at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

Williams presented Ferris with the Legion of Merit in recognition for his service, as well as a replica of a World War II bayonet to hang on his wall.

The CSEL serves as the principle advisor to the Adjutant General on matters of health, welfare, morale, professional development, good order and discipline and the effective employment of the state’s enlisted members of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force.

Williams, Ferris and Profita all recognized the important role of the families in the success of the careers of the incoming and outgoing CSEL, and Ferris also expressed his appreciation for the support of his employer throughout his entire Guard career.

Ferris said that his time as the VNG CSEL was one of the greatest experiences of his military career, and the thanked his fellow command sergeants major and chief from the Army Guard, Air Guard and VDF for their support. He stressed the importance of all three elements working together to accomplish the mission.

“I was able to go out and expand my horizons and see our Soldiers, Airmen and Defense Force members, what they are doing and the unique skills and abilities they have to support the Guard, our communities and our nation,” Ferris said. “It is absolutely amazing.”

He said that he felt the role of senior leaders was to train, mentor and take care of their personnel so those unique skills and abilities can effectively contribute to mission success.

Ferris now serves as the command sergeant major for the 29th Infantry Division, and Profita previously served as senior enlisted leader for strategy and policy and senior enlisted Guard advisor at Headquarters U.S. European Command.

Profita expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to serve as CSEL and the support he received in reaching this point in his career.

“It is an honor and I am truly humbled to be serve our Airmen, Soldiers and Defense Force personnel at this level, and I want to thank Maj. Gen. Williams for giving me this opportunity for things that I potentially can do,” he said.

He also offered a take on the saying “it takes a village to grow a child,” but in this case it “takes a village of senior leaders to grow a chief.”

He thanked the Air Guard chiefs in the room as well as the other military personnel for their role in helping him “think smarter and think about the greater good.”

Profita said that while he maintains an open door policy, he expected that roles could be reversed as he moves into the new position.

“I will probably be the guy coming through your door,” he said. “I don’t like to sit down, and I plan to come through your section so I can really get to know you and find out the goodness that you have so we can all help the organization.”

Biographical summary for Command Chief Master Sgt. James J. Profita:

Profita enlisted in the Air Force in 1992 and completed basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, that October. Upon graduation, he went to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, and graduated from information management and received his duty assignment to the U.S. Air Force Mobility Center at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. He transferred to the Virginia Air National Guard in January 1994, under the Palace Chase program and joined the 200th Weather Flight.

Profita mobilized in 2001 and was stationed at the 28th Operational Weather Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. After returning to Virginia, he became the 200th WF station chief. He was selected to be a first sergeant in 2006, and went on to serve at the squadron, group and wing levels. Profita also served as the 192nd Mission Support Group Superintendent, 192nd Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

During his tenure in the Guard, Profita volunteered for many stateside and overseas deployments, such as Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. He has also had temporary assignments with the United States Joint Forces Command and the United States Africa Command.

In his civilian career, Profita served in many different leadership roles over the last 22 years with the Chesterfield County Police Department. He attained the rank of lieutenant and serves as a unit commander.

Biographical summary for Command Sergeant Maj. Alan Ferris:

Prior to serving as the SEL, Ferris served as the command sergeant major for the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He recently retired as a police lieutenant in the City of Covington Police Department.

Ferris served as the command sergeant major for 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry during the unit’s deployment to Iraq from June 2007 to June 2008. From June 2004 to August 2005 he served in Afghanistan as the CSM mentor and senior enlisted advisor for the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps as part of the Regional Command Assistance Group-Kandahar, Afghanistan. He also deployed with 76th Infantry Brigade from the Indiana National Guard to Afghanistan.

Ferris enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in February 1981 as an infantry Soldier and spent the early years of his career as a rifleman, machine gunner, team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment. In 1997, he became the first sergeant of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry and then served as the first sergeant for the Headquarters Company of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. From 2003 to 2005, he served as an operations noncommissioned officer for 1st Battalion and the 116th IBCT. He was promoted to sergeant major in October 2006 and began serving as the 3rd Battalion command sergeant major.

Ferris is a graduate of the U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, the U.S. Army War College Executive Leaders Course and the Keystone Course from the National Defense University as well as Air Assault and Rappel Master Schools. He has an Associates Degree in Business Management and Criminal Justice from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and a Bachelors Degree from Liberty University in Interdisciplinary Studies.