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NEWS | Feb. 11, 2022

Army National Guard welcomes 13th command sergeant major

By Staff Sgt. Priscilla Desormeaux, National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. – Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, the director of the Army National Guard, hosted a change of responsibility ceremony for the Army Guard’s top senior enlisted position at the Herbert R. Temple Army National Guard Readiness Center, Feb. 9.

Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa, who served in the position for nearly four years, passed on responsibilities as the Army Guard’s senior enlisted leader to Command Sgt. Maj. John Raines. Raines has more than 30 years of military experience, serving in both the Army National Guard and the active Army.

“Raines brings a great mix of experience,” said Jensen. “I look forward to working with him to help our senior leaders across the country ensure that our Army National Guard remains true to its motto of “Always Ready, Always There.”

Jensen also thanked Sampa for his service to the Army National Guard.

“You answered the call every single day,” said Jensen. “Thank you for your tireless leadership, your counsel, your engagement, and your friendship along the way.”

Raines thanked Sampa, the 12th command sergeant major of the Army National Guard, for his mentorship during the ceremony.

“I want to thank my brother, friend, and mentor for his four years of competent, dedicated, sincere and inspired service,” said Raines. “Thank you, number 12.”

Sampa expressed his faith in Raines and the Army National Guard during the ceremony.

“We are all here to support you,” said Sampa. “We are a powerful organization and because of that, he will maintain the status needed by the Army. We are a tight-knit group.”

Raines assured him he would and acknowledged the task ahead.

“My job here is to be flexible,” said Raines. “I understand the expectations and the demand of this assignment, and I have a great respect for the complexity of this position.”

Raines began his military career in the Active Component of the U.S. Army in 1989. He served with the 11th Signal Brigade, 385th Signal Company, and the 2nd Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment before transitioning to the Alabama Army National Guard, serving with the 1st Battalion, 167th Infantry Regiment. He most recently served as the operations sergeant major for the senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau and previously served as the command senior enlisted leader of the Mississippi National Guard.

Raines has deployed to Iraq to support Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also deployed all around South Asia and the Pacific, coaching and mentoring joint U.S. forces and numerous foreign partners in the region. 

Raines recalled his service and his questions as a young Soldier regarding becoming a senior leader.

“How do you get here?” said Raines. “And once you get here, how do you get started? For me, the answer is leadership, and it’s about people and not about plans.”

Sampa is retiring from the military, following a career that spanned three decades. 

“After serving for 35 years, it was not a mistake for me to join the Army National Guard,” Sampa said. “I’m passionate about providing an opportunity, and everyone who puts on this uniform deserves an opportunity.”

The Army National Guard command sergeant major is the principal advisor to the director of the Army National Guard for all matters pertaining to enlisted personnel across the 53 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.