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                  three different Post Command Sergeants Majors, 12 different Brigade level or 0-6 commanders, and over 32 Battalion or 0-5 level commanders in 3-years, I’ve had the great fortune to experience
a lot of the good, bad and ugly that comes with command.
Make no mistake about my message or critical point, I have seen more than my share of “good” daily, and every day has been a great day despite the bad or the ugly of that day or week. As Colin Powell outlines in his 13 rules that I keep prominently posted in my office, rule #1 has served me well
in every leadership position that I have held
in 31-years, “It ain’t as bad as you think! it will
look better in the morning.” The other rule that I frequently remind myself of and review is rule #2 “Get mad and get over it.” Many things would serve to upset a commander on any given day, and trust me, I had my share of those days, but rule #2 always came immediately to mind.
At the beginning of my tenure and after
an in-depth assessment of the current state of
Fort Jackson, recent history in terms of key accomplishments, changes, and challenges, I settled on two key mantras as the way forward.
In the first year, we would “Consolidate Gains.” This was based on several necessary evolutionary changes in training that were taking hold before my arrival. In addition, manning challenges were still as prevalent as they had been 3-years prior during my time as a Bde Cdr. In addition, attrition was at an all-time high, and misconduct was at a steady burn rate but possibly better than any unit (TRADOC or FORSCOM). Consolidate gains
was a simple approach to use my phrase of “stop moving the goal post” to allow our entire team to gain comfort with our processes, procedures, and approach to all things associated with training. As stated, many things had changed in the year before my arrival. The best way to settle a team that has experienced turbulence is to enable them to focus on the positive and find ways to become consistent in all things.
For the second year, I wanted to focus on what was to come, which became “Prepare for Follow on Mission.” Early in my tenure, we all knew that more change and challenges were coming our way (ACFT, new training programs, possible increases
to manning, and other unknowns.) Either way, change was not far away again, and we had to become comfortable and consistent in performing our day-to-day missions. I didn’t think much past the first two years in the sense of a “mantra,” but once I was informed in December of 2019 that I would stay beyond 24-months, I instinctively knew that the mantra for year three would have to be focused on “Consistency.” In simple logic, these mantras codified the need to gain familiarity and comfort with changes that had occurred, prepare for future changes before the point of execution and demonstrate consistency over the long term
in everything we do as an installation and training entity.
As I Exit
  Cross-cutting all of this was the focus on climate and culture. Without a deep focus on both, the ability to unite disparate formations around a common mission and team spirit would be a tall order. Typically on a TRADOC installation, the one thing that many search for but can’t quite put their finger on is a sense of unity and connectedness. Unlike a FORSCOM installation where you have
a “numbered Division” with a shared mission, shared unit identity, and culture, it is often hard to achieve this on a TRADOC installation. Therefore, the easy way to capture it is for many to criticize it with such phrases as “TRADOC-isms,” “Relaxing Jackson,” or other things that detract from trying to build a shared identity collectively. We did
this in spades and to the surprise (quite honestly) of many across the Army. In 3-years, we (Team Jackson) can boast many “firsts” – the first NCO
of the Year, Soldier of the Year, and DS for 1st
and 2nd place, the MEDCOM Soldier of the Year, IMCOM DPW Executive of the year all came from FT Jackson! This is just the shortlist on top of a
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