For the first time since the position was created in 2005, an airman will serve as the senior enlisted leader to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez will replace Army Command Sgt. Major John. W. Troxell, who is retiring in December, defense officials announced on Wednesday.
"A big congratulations to my good friend and brother CMSgt CZ Colon-Lopez on his selection as SEAC 4!" Troxell wrote in a Wednesday Facebook post. "Sandra Troxell and I are so excited for you and Janet! You are the right leader to take this position to even greater heights! #bestjobieverhad #SEAC3 #SEAC4."
Colon-Lopez is currently the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Africa Command. He joined the Air Force in December 1990 and initially served as an air traffic controller then went on to become a pararescueman, according to his official biography.He has deployed several times in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
From June 2014 to June 2016, Colon-Lopez served as command chief for U.S. Air Forces Central Command. His military awards include two Bronze Stars with "V" devices and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.
News that Colon-Lopez would become Army Gen. Mark Milley's new senior enlisted advisor was first announced by Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, a.k.a. "Enlisted Jesus."
"It's a great day for our teammates in every corner of the DoD!" Wright posted on Facebook. "Our brothers and sisters in service are in the best hands possible with our newest Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. I'm proud to say that Chief CZ, our SEAC #4, is a friend and an exceptional leader. Chief Ramon Colon-Lopez is the right Airman for the job! Congrats brother!"
Colon-Lopez will be the fourth senior enlisted advisor to the chairman when he replaces Troxell, who has served as the chairman's senior enlisted adviser since December 2015.
Troxell is perhaps best known for warning ISIS fighters in January 2018 that if they did not surrender, U.S. troops would beat them to death with entrenching tools. Afterward, hundreds of people asked him to autograph their entrenching tools.
In September 2018, Troxell was suspended and reassigned pending an investigation that ultimately found he had broken ethics rules by having troops run personal errands for him and endorsing commercial fitness and nutrition products.
Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford reinstated Troxell in March after deciding that "his 37 years of dedicated military service and superb leadership" outweighed his ethics violations.
"I am equally confident in his competence and capability to continue serving as our senior enlisted leader, which is why I reinstated him to his duties as SEAC," Dunford said on March 28. "Now it's time to move on and get back to the important work we have before us."