104th Training Division (LT)
I wanted to share with you what I consider the most important thing we can do, not only as leaders, but in our personal lives as well. To most it may seem simple, but, when it’s all said and done, there needs to be no question on whether you made a difference.
So, what does that mean to make a difference? In my opinion, as leaders, we should have no question when our careers are over (and we all have a last day in the Army) that we know that we influenced our units and our Soldiers. I have told you before that it can’t be about me. What I am saying coincides with that concept except that we should be able to look back, reflect and know without a doubt that you were able to affect not only single careers, but units also.
Within the 104th, this should really be an easy task as we get the opportunity to work with basic combat trainees, along with cadets in several different aspects. There is no better place in the Army or the civilian world that can influence a young person as a drill sergeant. It’s the national symbol of authority and mentorship. Drill sergeants are not the only position where you can have this type of influence though. Especially within the 104th Training Division. As instructors, you can have even more effect as you are deemed more approachable as to not scare off cadets with the ever feared “brown round.”
I recently witnessed a perfect example of making a difference while visiting Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. As I walked the CBRN lanes, I often liked standing in the wood line and eavesdropping on the instructions of the trainers, not so much to listen to the content, but more so to hear the delivery.
I overheard a block of instruction given by a young sergeant that was the epitome of not only caring, but making a difference. He was teaching a class on identifying different types of chemicals used in warfare. He was not only giving examples of each and how the body is affected, but he was also delivering information in one of the most enthusiastic ways I have ever heard in my 31-year career. As I stood and listened to his class the thing that impressed me the most was the interaction that he was getting from the cadets. They were not only smiling and obviously enjoying what they were hearing, but they were all raising their hands and cutting each other off in order to answer his questions. It was extremely apparent that they were getting it!!!
When I walked away from this moment, not only was I proud of the young sergeant, but more so for the cadets and the knowledge that they will attain from these Soldiers’ efforts. This was when I began to think about how important it is that we make a difference. This young Sergeant was doing just that, there is no question that he is going above and beyond.
I think that we should all strive to make a difference. I believe that for most it’s not a hard task to do. I think that if you start every day trying to make your home life, civilian job and reserve job not about you, but about using whatever influence you have in whatever capacity to measure your success based on the level of success of your family, workplace or unit you want them to have then you will do just that when it’s all over. You will have made a difference. We must follow the simple rule that “it’s not about you!”