Page 87 - Jackson Journal
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                 This is the first factor that caused the wrong decision that would happen on Tuesday morning. My inability to realize that my pride was affecting my good judgment as a senior Noncommissioned Officer. The chain of command trusted my judgment based on their previous years’ experience with me. I was always the one to ensure everything was to standard and professional. I was not someone who cut corners or was unsafe with trainees I was responsible for. I am the type of leader who leads by example in everything they do.
After the 10-mile foot march was finished and all the patrol bases are set up, the night shift cadre members left, and the day shirt arrived. I conducted security checks on the patrol bases during rest plan operations before breakfast chow. I talked to the company’s new executive officer during breakfast and started getting the trainees ready to load their duffle bags into the LMTV. Once the bags are arranged and loaded by platoon, I conducted a foot and welfare check on each platoon. Based on the timeline set, we needed to move the duffle bags back to the company area no later than lunch.
I got a detail of trainees together to ride in
the van back to the company. The LMTV would follow the van to the company so that the duffle bags could be downloaded and secured. That is the moment when the second factor that caused the bad decision happened, complacency. I decided to drive the van to the company with the trainees and not stay that the training area. I had been a drill sergeant on the trail for 10 cycles and drove the
van down this route hundreds of times. I thought I would be good to drive the van to the company and back, even though I had told the chain of command I would not drive it. The individual assigned to the van asked about my judgement at first but then agreed with the plan.
I was tired, but not enough to be unable to drive the van safely. That is what I thought at the time. It is 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back. Nothing to be concerned about after driving it
so many times before. I ensured that the trainees were in their seatbelts and all the van’s paperwork was in order before we left the training area. Heading back from the training area, I stopped at the intersection of Dixie Road and Wildcat Road. I continued driving down Dixie Road and talking
to the trainees in the van. I was not paying enough attention to my driving or speed. As I had just came down to the bottom of the hill close to range 14,
an unmarked police car started flashing its lights.
I looked down at the van’s speed, and it was well above the posted speed limit.
At that moment, I knew I had made a bad decision by driving the van. My focus had not been on the task of driving like it usually was. I had
been preoccupied with things other than driving.
I had set myself up for failure, not just moments before but the last two days. I was about to find
out the immediate and consequential costs of my bad decision. The police officer came to the van door and asked for my driver’s license and vehicle paperwork. He took those items and went back to his police car. I was utterly embarrassed in front
of the trainees by my actions. I have been talking about living the Army Values all cycle and look at me. The police officer came back to the van and asked me to step out to the back of the van for a conversation. The posted speed limit was 40 MPH but 30 MPH transporting troops. The police officer said, “You know the speed limit is 30 MPH with troops in the van?” I said that I thought that was for tactical vehicles only. He said that was not the case, and due to post policy, I was being arrested for my speed over the limit.
As he placed me in handcuffs, I was thinking about the example I was setting for the trainees
in the van. I had broken the trust of my chain
of command, trainees, and the trainees’ family members. I had promised every family member that I would ensure their son or daughter’s best training and safety. I had lost sight of that promise with my decision to drive the van. I had forgotten
Reflection Writing
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