As always, I usually wait until the last moment to write my article for the Griffon. I also believe things happen for a reason. Every day I spend a good part of my morning answering e-mails (as we all do), and while doing so, I received a phone call from a Soldier that brought a problem they were having to my attention. The Soldier felt their NCOIC did not assist or support them in the way they desired to rectify their situation.
After looking into the issue, I found that the NCOIC did do their job in assisting the Soldier but it wasn’t the answer the Soldier wanted. I find that today more than ever before, some Soldiers are complaining about issues when they don’t get the answers ‘they’ wanted.
Once again, when I refer to some Soldiers I am referring to a handful that forgot what being a Soldier is all about.
We have Soldier Creeds, NCO Creeds, DS Creeds, Warrior Ethos and a set of Army Values that remind us of who we are and what we are required to do. Those creeds have strong meanings that when we live by them make us outstanding Soldiers of the greatest Army on the face of the earth!
I ask that all Soldiers re-familiarize themselves with their NCO and Soldier Creeds, re-confirm what your role is in your units and live by the Army Values.
As NCOs and especially Senior NCOs, we all accepted the positions we are in knowing the amount of time required from us. I know these leadership positions we accepted sometimes interfere with our family lives and civilian jobs, but again, we accepted these positions knowing what was required of us.
We find ourselves constantly giving guidance to our Soldiers and working out courses of actions for them when they should be making decisions and looking to us as mentors to ensure they made the correct decision.
We need to encourage them that when they come to that fork in the road, to take the hard right instead of the easy way.
We need to train them to be accountable, to be responsible and most of all to be able to lead Soldiers at any given time.
But the only way we will be able to grow Soldiers into tomorrow’s leaders is by being great role models and mentors ourselves, displaying all the characteristics of great Officers and NCOs and living the Army Values in everything we say and do.
We have to correct what society ‘failed’ to do.
What do I mean by that?
Well when most of you reading this article were growing up, your parents told you only once that it’s time to get up, and you got right out of bed. Whether for school, work or something else. Today’s youth will ignore that wake-up call and either decide to go to school late or not go at all. They see no problem being late for appointments.
Another thing you will remember from growing up is every day after school, you played a game of baseball, basketball or some type of physical activity. Today’s youth spends approximately four to eight hours a day playing video games after school and eating unhealthy snacks. Heaven forbid you raise your voice to today’s youth or take away a privilege like their cell phone.
You become marked as an unfit parent. An actual documentary on ‘today’s generation was done on this topic.
Society also informs us of how we need to be more understanding and sensitive of the problems children face today. Because of that, they are not taught to deal with problems or how to handle or work through stressful situations.
Another product of society that affects us across the entire Army is we have young Soldiers between 18 and 25 that can’t pass an APFT. Some have never even heard of physical fitness training until they joined the military!
The point I’m making is today’s Soldier grew up in a completely different world than most of us senior NCOs and Officers did. They have been pacified to the point where they expect everything and again were never held accountable or responsible for anything.
We all see it because we’re all dealing with it in one way or another. It didn’t start as our problem but now that they are Soldiers and now belong to us, it is our responsibility to train them to be proficient as possible and to ‘be all they can be’.
But as I stated earlier, we have to fix what society has done. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose who gets assigned to our units but we do have the ability to ensure that when they do, they will receive the best leadership and training the Army has to offer.
They are our responsibility and it is now up to us to get them where they need to be.
It starts with being a leader and comes down to being a role model that these young Soldiers are proud to look up to and want to emulate.
It has to do with being a coach, mentor and trainer for every individual under your command. It has to do with leading from the front.
Leading from the front is not just barking orders or handing out tasks.
It is not just passing an APFT but pushing yourself to the limits and exceeding the standard.
Being a leader is checking, double-checking and re-checking to ensure that you, your Soldiers and equipment are always in a ‘combat ready’ status.
For those that know me, I am not one for excuses. I grew up in an Army where we follow orders. I grew up in an Army where when given a task, you execute.
One of the things I will never understand or tolerate is when someone says “that’s not my job”. I understand all about duties and responsibilities and staying in your lane, but again, we are Soldiers 24/7.
Let’s start getting back to basics and being the lean and mean fighting machine our country expects us to be.
Let’s show these new Soldiers what right looks like and most of all, give them the leadership they deserve.
First in Training