From the 104th Command Sergeant Major

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Greetings Timberwolves,

Hope this message finds all of you and your families doing well. New challenges arose this year with the pandemic that spread across the world. It changed the way we think as a unit, an Army and a Nation. Flexibility and adaptability is what we do as Soldiers. The majority of Americans look up to you. This country depends on us. We give Americans a sense of security that they would be lost without. In saying that, our missions, our annual trainings and our battle assemblies have all went through changes this past year.

I have no doubt in my mind that we will persevere, just like we have always done in the past. How did we continue to be successful throughout all of this? By each and every one of you doing your part. I want to personally thank all of you that continue to serve this great Country. Your sacrifices may seem unnoticed by some, but so appreciated by others. I’m honored to write my last article in the Army on Memorial Day.

As my last article after 32½ yrs serving, I want to take a minute to say thank you to some and talk about my favorite subject, Leadership. Some of you have heard me say this in the past, as Leaders, we are the calm in the storm. We prevent chaos and confusion by giving our Soldiers hope and direction. We completely understand the Army Values and live them daily. What will you be remembered by when you leave? What will be your legacy? I personally, have never cared about receiving awards and recognition; it will come eventually if you continue to do the best you can. In my opinion, if you are in this for the awards or accolades, you should consider retiring now or getting out. In saying that, they are more important to some Soldiers than others and as leaders, we owe that to recognize those that are deserving and those that are retiring. This is one of our ways of saying “thank you” for going above and beyond the norm. I have had Soldiers argue about their awards and ask for coins, it baffles me honestly. I have even had a senior leader ask to buy one of the DIV Coins. I said, “Why don’t you worry about earning it?” Your views change as you climb the ladder of leadership. We look at a much bigger picture than we have in the past. It still is about taking care of Soldiers, but it becomes in a much larger scale. As we get a strategic level understanding, this isn’t always just about taking care of Pvt. Johnson. It’s about the Army, your unit and the Soldiers. This is a difficult transition for some. You are never going to please everyone, accept that. Do the right thing always. I have met many selfish leaders in my career. Many that felt they were on a higher playing field than their Soldiers. Humble yourself. Your successes are generated from those all around you. You can never go wrong if you treat everyone with dignity and respect. Some of the best ideas come from the lowest levels. Share your knowledge, but listen attentively. I have said that knowledge is useless if you do not share it. Be receptive to other ideas, you aren’t always right and your way isn’t always the best way. Flexibility is key, things change sometimes hourly in the Army. Remember where you came from and never forget it. For the Junior Soldiers, set goals and strive to accomplish them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learn as much as you can. For the NCO’s, remember the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer. Complete all the schooling you can. Never be afraid to give your officers an honest assessment. Do it with tact or behind closed doors, but do it. For the Officers, listen and lean on your NCO’s to carry out your vision and intent. NEVER be a risk adverse leader. Utilize your risk assessments and empower your Soldiers to carry out and accomplish the mission. All leaders remember this; write honest evaluations. Soldiers deserve the truth no matter how difficult it may be to swallow. This is how they get better or get replaced. Document everything. Give clear guidance and direction. Ask for a brief back to make sure your intent is understood completely. Communication is the biggest failure in any organization. Are you part of the problem? Take the time to get it as close to right the first time.

In my closing paragraph, I want to take time to thank all of you for your continued support, your mentoring, your honest opinions, your friendship and allowing me the opportunity to serve something far better than myself with you. I cannot thank everyone personally, please don’t think I have forgotten you. General Edwards, I thank you personally for being an outstanding leader, my battle buddy and my friend. The Army needs leaders like you. I wish that everyone got a chance to see you in the light that I do. You are never afraid to speak the truth and always do what’s best for the Army and our Soldiers. It has been my honor serving next to you. All the Command Groups at every level, thank you for stepping up and taking the difficult positions above your peers. You do make a difference. Thank you for listening, helping and mentoring me. You are always fighting for what’s best for the Soldiers. I want to thank the staff and special staff, for keeping us all out of trouble and working long hours to get things done. You deserve so much more recognition than you receive. I want to thank all the Soldiers that have made me who I am today in the Army. Some of you are my friends, but you all are my brothers and sisters. Last but not least, I want to thank my family. I appreciate the sacrifices you have made to allow me to continue to serve. Changes happen all the time in life, there will be another to replace me as I go forward. Please give him or her the same support and honesty you have given me. I am still around and always available to help if needed. One last thing, you can never get time back and we only get one shot at this. Don’t be like me and sacrifice so much time that may be unnecessary at the expense of your family. There is a balance, don’t forget that. This has been a good ride. Not perfect, but I have met some truly amazing people throughout my career. I hope that in some way I have made things a little better or had some small part in helping you be a better Soldier. I am honored to have served with some of the best men and women in the Army. I truly appreciate all of you. Timberwolf 7 Out!

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