Goodbye to Major General James B. Mallory III

From the Command Sergeant Major...

06/07/2010  |  Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Payne Command Sergeant Major 108th Training Command (ET)
From the Command Sergeant Major
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I first met then Lt. Col. James Mallory almost 15 years ago as part of 1st Team, the senior leadership team for 1st Brigade, 108th Division Training.  I was a 1st Sgt. and acting Command Sgt. Maj. in the 2nd Battalion, 485th Regiment in Asheboro, N.C. and he commanded the 1st Battalion, 518th Regiment in Asheville, N.C.

I then served under him briefly when I was assigned as the Command Sgt. Maj. of the 3rd Battalion, 318th Regiment in Hickory, N.C. while he was the Commander of the 1st Brigade, 108th Division.

In 1999, I became the Commandant of the 108th Division Drill Sergeant School (DSS). Shortly after becoming the Commandant I was proud to be presiding over my first graduation class. From a class start of twenty eight candidates we had eight, “The Great Eight” I called them, to graduate. To graduate from DSS at that time it typically took over a year to complete the course. And we were graduating two classes a year. During the length of a course a number of issues could come in a Soldier’s life that would cause them to drop from the course.

I remember at that graduation Col. Mallory was having a “spirited” discussion with the Div. Command Sgt. Maj. Sam Rule, who had been my predecessor at the DSS about the production or lack thereof of new Drill Sergeants graduating from the course.

This was to lead a number of Tiger Team meetings with the 1st and 2nd Brigade Commanders and the DSS with numerous ideas presented to help address the issue of production at the Drill Sergeant School. As a result of those meetings the 108th Division DSS looked at different options to increase production.

One of these ideas was to implement a 3rd class option at the DSS the 2 – 6 – 2. This option had two weeks annual training (AT) up front, six periods of individual training (IDT – Battle Assemblies), finishing with two weeks again in AT status. After much initial resistance from the units, surely the Soldiers will not be able to do two ATs within a six month period, this option turned out to be extremely successful raising graduation rate to more than 85 percent.

Along with that 108th DSS started a partnership with 80th Division DSS at Fort AP Hill, Virg. to facilitate the need for summer AT facilities and pushed satellite schools down into Puerto Rico, Fla. and Ga. Soon we were graduating over 50 new Drill Sergeants twice a year. Col. Mallory also suggested that we consider a Distance or Correspondent Drill Sergeant Training Program. Okay, sometimes there were issues on which we just had to agree to disagree.

In 2003, I was selected to be the 6th Brigade (Professional Development) Command Sgt. Maj. and Brig. Gen. Mallory became the 108th Division Assistant Division Commander. In 2005, the 108th Division was notified that we were selected to be the follow on unit to replace the 80th Division in the Foreign Army – Training Command (FA-TRAC) in its Multi National Training Command – Iraq (MNSTC-I) Mission in 2006. Brig. Gen. Mallory was selected to command our Soldiers for what was to be called Task Force Griffon and I had the privilege of being selected to be the mission Command Sgt. Maj.

Courtesy Photo.

Maj. Gen. James B. Mallory III, commanding general, 108th Training Command (IET), Maj. Gen. Terry A Wolff, commander, 1st Armor Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. William Payne, 108th Training Command (IET) in Baghdad, Iraq. Mallory and Payne were visiting from the 108th Training Command.

In 2006, after starting our mission training at Fort McCoy, Wisc., Brig. Gen. Mallory and I and the rest the mission senior leaders, both officers and non commissioned officers attended the Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace (LDESP) Course at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. and made a two week pre deployment visit to Iraq. Both of these events added greatly to the success of our mission. In June 2006, Task Force Griffon deployed to Iraq. Unfortunately, due to General Officer assignment decisions made way above my pay grade, Brig. Gen. Mallory was not able to make the mission.

But he and I did communicate when I was serving as the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) Sgt. Maj. and I was pleased to hear that Brig. Gen. Mallory was selected to succeed Maj. Gen. Charles McCartney as the next 108th Div. Commander.

Upon completing my tour in Iraq in 2007, I applied for and was selected by Maj. Gen. Mallory to be the last Command Sgt. Maj. of the 108th Div. (Training) and the first Command Sgt. Maj. of the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training).  During our command tour we have witnessed the growth of the 108th to a nationwide command with over 10,000 Soldiers and close to 2,400 drill sergeants. Most of these Drill Sergeants have joined the force in the last three years and many are combat veterans.

We have had the pleasure to proudly visit not only our own Soldiers within our shores but also other Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines in two Joint Monthly Access for Reserve Components (JMARC) trips, one to Afghanistan and one to Iraq. One thing has been evident in all of my dealings with Maj. Gen. Mallory is how much he cares for Soldiers.

One of my highlights of our recent trip to Iraq was having an office call with Maj. Gen. Terry A. Wolff, Commander of the 1st Armor Div. Maj. Gen. Wolff was my commander at CMATT during my deployment in Iraq and to have the two general officers for which I have served directly to meet was a memorable experience.

Outside of those JMARCs and for obvious occasions such as the Senior Leader Warrior and Initial Military Training Conferences due to the size and scope of the command, Maj. Gen. Mallory and I have spent much of our tenure going in different directions. But we have spent the last six weeks or so traveling together to visit units.  I have also had the opportunity to spend extensive time with Maj. Gen. Mallory’s lovely wife Mary and three of their four children, their beautiful daughter, McClain and her handsome brothers, Madison and Will. If these obvious bright young adults, hey they did laugh at some of my jokes, are representative of the future of our country, then I am optimistic that we will be in good hands.

The 108th Training Command (IET) exists as it does today as a direct result the outstanding leadership we have had in the 108th Div. and of Maj. Gen. Mallory’s forward and visionary leadership. His ability to think outside of the box and refusal to do things a certain way just because that’s how we always did it helped the Division to expand its footprint and move into previously untapped states to grow. He has always been a proponent of the NCO Corps and one of his favorite expressions is: This is an NCO world and we officers are just living in it.

So as you can see, our careers paths have been continuously crossing over the last 15 years. Whatever Maj. Gen. Mallory’s follow on assignment turns out to be, he will be missed by the 108th Training Command.  I want to personally thank him for his counsel, his leadership and the friendship he has provided me over the years and for having the confidence in me to serve as his Command Sgt. Maj. My wife Beverly and I wish Maj. Gen. Mallory, Mary and their family the best of luck and God Speed in whatever is chartered for them. They will always be part of the 108th Family.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Victory Starts Here!

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