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                  be attributed to the lack of adherence to Army standards. A few that immediately come to mind are we (senior leaders) do not enforce standards consistently and may not properly develop leaders at the platoon level and lower. Additionally,
we are training a multi-generational group of young Americans. Each example given has its complexities, and I will share my opinion of each.
First, I don’t intend for this to be a dig at my peers, but more so as an indication of where we are as an organization. In organizations I have served, we were always taught not to fail. Sayings such as “work smarter, not harder” or the ideology of efficient leadership versus effective leadership have sometimes led to Soldiers cutting corners
to complete the mission. The subsequent result
is failing to meet basic standards that we push on our subordinates. Competence is vital, and a lack of competence will aid in the inability to uphold standards.
I was once told, when some leaders see an issue, and they do nothing about it, they have now created a new standard. Over the 15 months, I’ve served
as a First Sergeant, I can attest this statement is
true. I can affirm the accuracy because I was guilty of this when I became the First Sergeant of B Co, 120th AG BN (REC). In my first 30 days, I saw a Drill Sergeant yelling at a Trainee about talking with their hands. I am not here to make excuses for Trainees, but they might have been at Fort Jackson for one day. Bad habits Civilians bring to the Army are not broken overnight. Instead of the Drill Sergeant explaining the deficiency, they chose the hammer, inciting fear by yelling. I called the NCO over to inquire about the issue. He explained the Trainee did not go to parade rest when speaking
to him. However, when the Staff Sergeant (SSG) talked to me, he did not stand at parade rest. I did not make the correction on the spot. Instead, I told the SSG to explain the deficiency to the Trainee, but I did not address the standard that was not upheld or extended to me. This was a classic case of “do
as I say, not as I do.” Upon realizing my error, I corrected it immediately.
Thinking back to the situation above, I created a new standard. I did not enforce a standard governed by Army doctrine and allowed the NCO to walk away. In an IET environment or
any, for that matter, something like this cannot be permitted. It sets a bad precedent and can be rather hard to change the culture after these mishaps.
Our job is to prepare Civilians for Basic Combat Training (BCT) while simultaneously leading and developing our permanent party cadre. The two responsibilities can be a tall task if not managed properly. The 120th AG BN (REC) processes newly arrived Trainees on a 72-hour processing model. According to Drill Sergeants assigned to the organization, it is believed there is not enough time to instruct essential customs and courtesies before shipping them to BCT. However, more times than not, white space is available to teach a Trainee the bare minimum regarding customs and courtesies.
It is our responsibility to change the mindset of the leader to affect change.
Secondly, the development of younger leaders does not happen as often as the Army thinks it does. When I was a young paratrooper, Sergeant’s Time Training was every Thursday from 0700
till 1300. At the time, I thought it was one of
the dumbest things we could do with our time. However, once I connected the dots, Sergeant’s Time Training was paramount in my development as a leader. That was the time to hone my skill level 10 skills as well as some functional MOS training. As time progressed, Sergeant’s Time Training seemed to be less of a priority as I moved to different units. In one organization I was assigned to, there was no white space set aside to train
my Soldiers. With the blessing of my Command Sergeant Major, I closed my S-1 shop weekly on Thursdays to train my Soldiers. Without proper development, Soldiers will attempt to find their
Deeds Over Words
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