173RD Airborne Brigade Commander


 COL Ken Burgess received his commission through ROTC as a Distinguished Military Graduate from James Madison University, Harrison, VA in 1997. He previously commanded the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, and 1st Battalion, 325 Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Ft. Bragg, NC. From Joint Staff as an Africa Counterterrorism Operations Officer and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for the Special Operations and Counterterrorism (DDSO/CT), J37. The Chairmen of Joint Chiefs of Staff awarded him the 2013 Joint Staff Action Officer of the Year. Throughout his career, COL Burgess served in multiple leadership and staff positions, including two Company Commands in the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, and a tour in the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He has numerous combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. COL Ken Burgess is a recent Distinguished Graduate from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, with a Master of Strategic Studies and he holds a Master of Science Degree in Defense Analysis (Special Operations and Low Intensity conflict) from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. COL Ken Burgess is married to the former Amy Schroeder of Maryland Line, Maryland and has two wonderful children, Grey (11), and Ella (8). He is the son of Captain (USN ret) Kenneth and Evelyn Burgess of Broad Run, Virginia.


  Col. Kenneth Burgess
     173RD Airborne Brigade, Brigade Commander





173RD Airborne Brigade Sergeant Major

CSM Christopher D. Clapin entered active duty service on 7 January, 1998. His first duty assignment was with Alpha Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA where he served in every duty position from Rifleman through Rife Platoon Sergeant.

CSM Clapin’s previous assignments include: Air Operations NCO, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; Rifle Platoon Sergeant, Alpha Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; Liaison NCO, HQ, 75th Ranger Regiment; Special Operations Forces Exchange Non-Commissioned Officer, United Kingdom; Operations NCO, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; First Sergeant, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; Operations Sergeant Major, 75th Ranger Regimental Special Troops Battalion; Command Sergeant Major, 75th Ranger Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion; and Command Sergeant Major, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

CSM Clapin’s awards and decorations include the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist’s Badge with Combat Star, the Bronze Star Medal w/5 OLC, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal w/4 OLC, the Joint Service Commendation Medal w/OLC, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal w/2 Silver OLC, the Army Good Conduct Medal (7th Award), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/3 campaign stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal w/4 Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal w/Bronze Arrowhead, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon w/numeral 5, the Overseas Service Ribbon (6th Award), and the NATO Medal. Since October 2001, CSM Clapin has deployed 17 times in support of numerous combat operations across the CENTCOM AOR.

CSM Clapin is a graduate of the United States Special Operations Command Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy (JSOFSEA), the U.S. Army Sergeant’s Major Course, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Eastern Washington University. CSM Clapin is married to Mrs. Jane Clapin of Taunton, MA.

  CSM Christopher D. Clapin
     173RD Airborne Brigade, Brigade Command Sergeant Major

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CSM Smith


CSM Mark T Smith joined the US Army in May 1994 as a Private First Class Fire Support Specialist from Newport, AR.  He attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, GA and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, OK.

CSM Smith has held numerous fire support-related operational and leadership positions ranging from Radio-Telephone Operator (RTO) to Platoon Forward Observer (FO), Company Fire Support Sergeant, Battalion Fire Support Sergeant, Brigade Fire Support Sergeant, Battalion Operations Sergeant, First Sergeant, Battalion Operations Sergeant Major, Senior Military Science Instructor, and Division Fire Support Sergeant Major.

He most recently served as the S3 Operations Sergeant Major for the 10th Mountain Division Artillery at Fort Drum, NY.

His previous assignments include 1-319th AFAR, 2-319th AFAR, 2-321st AFAR, 2-508th PIR and 4-73rd CAV, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC; 3-314th FA at Fort Dix, NJ; 1-38th FA at Camp Casey, Korea; University of Idaho Army ROTC in Moscow, ID; and the 10th Mountain Division HQs and Division Artillery at Fort Drum, NY.  He has deployed to Panama, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan multiple times.

CSM Smith is a graduate of the Sergeants Major Course, Class 68.  His other military education includes: All levels of the NCOPDS including the Battle Staff NCO Course, First Sergeant and Commander Course, the Cadre and Faculty Development Course, Master Resiliency Trainer Course, Joint Firepower Course, Joint Fires Observer Course, Basic Airborne Course, and the Advanced Airborne Course.

CSM Smith’s awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, Korea Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award, Combat Action Badge, and the Master Parachutist Badge.  He is a recipient of the Major General Aubrey “Red” Newman Award and the US Field Artillery Association’s Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

He is joined at Grafenwoehr with his wife, Michelle.