From the 95th Command Sergeant Major


It has been a little over a year now since having the privilege of joining the 95th Division as the Division Command Sergeant Major. I am extremely proud to be back in the Victory Division serving with the Iron Men of Metz; the Soldiers who were ready to fight bravely against the odds to accomplish their mission as they moved across France. They were trained, then called on to perform a difficult mission until completed. That end date was unknown at that time, unlike today when we have BOG (boots on ground) date and length of tour predetermined. In recent history, the Iron Soldiers of the Victory Division have served in many countries around the world with distinction. They were ready for the mission; are we ready today?

The duty of the reserve Soldier is to be a ready, relevant force capable to deploy when called. The Chief, Army Reserve says that we must be ready to “fight tonight”.  In order to accomplish that, all Soldiers must be fully ready to complete the fight. Leaders cannot accomplish a mission without a ready force. Unlike the past, the luxury of having time to get ready is not a luxury that exists today. Leaders at all levels are concerned about having a ready force to use for mission accomplishment. First line leaders are the vital link since they have the direct contact with their troops. Today all Soldiers are leaders since our training prepares Soldiers to step up and fill the shoes of the Soldier that falls in order to keep the unit moving forward to accomplish the mission. With every Soldier a potential leader, then the responsibility to maintain a posture that is ready to fight is every Soldier’s responsibility. Leaders assist in the readiness by providing the resources for the Soldier but also by educating the subordinate Soldier on where the information is and how to use and access it. The Soldier of today must have that knowledge since tomorrow they will have the responsibility and be held accountable for preparing Soldiers to be ready to fight. Whether that Soldier be a new recruit, a newly promoted sergeant, or the platoon sergeant that suddenly becomes the company first sergeant. That training is difficult to accomplish. How many times do we just give our future leaders a printout and tell them to fix it instead of taking the time to mentor and educate them so that they can then track the information and be proactive instead of reactive? With every Soldier a leader, and leaders held accountable then all Soldiers are accountable for all that they accomplish or fail to accomplish. All of us are responsible and accountable for what happens in our formations, leaders and Soldiers alike

We must also be reliable. Soldiers must be able to perform repeatedly when called on, even if the proper resources are not there. We must be resilient – possessing skills and inner strength to cope with unbearable environmental conditions and situations.   Do you possess the training, physical, mental and spiritual stamina to overcome the environmental conditions and stressful situations that you may find yourself suddenly thrust into? Many of you may have seen the movie or read the book, ‘Unbroken.” Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner who overcame many challenges just to make the Olympic team. When the war broke out, he became an aviator. Later, his life took a dramatic turn when his plane crashed in the Pacific and his ordeal began. Not to give the entire story, but after surviving over 40 days on the open ocean in a life raft, he then endured extreme abuse as a POW while also caring for the fellow POW’s in camp with him. Later in life, after experiencing the trials of readjusting, he was asked whether he thought of himself as an optimist or pessimist. To paraphrase Louis Zamperini, he responded with this. I am a realist. The optimist sees a glass of water as half full with water left in it that can wait to be filled while still drinking the remaining water. The pessimist sees the glass of water as half empty and thinks that the water must be conserved to last longer. The realist sees a glass of water that needs filled to survive. The realist knows that he will drink the water today and needs water tomorrow. He must find a way to replenish the water to keep it full today, tomorrow, and the days to follow if he is to survive, for he will drink water every day to survive.

Are we ready to fight tonight? Have we prepared ourselves to meet the challenges that come tonight? Are we prepared for tomorrow? Have we prepared our replacement to do our job better than we did? More importantly, did we identify the replacement for the Soldier that replaces us and is that Soldier fully prepared and trained? For tonight we fight and may fall, who takes lead tomorrow and is a trained Soldier ready to replace the replacement?


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