Teammates! I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the extraordinary performance and service to our Nation that you each demonstrated in 2017. Last year was marked with remarkable accomplishments in mission execution, training and Soldier readiness. We completed the arduous task of Reformation of the Command and its three Divisions; We produced over 240 new Drill Sergeants with over 20 percent graduating on the Commandant’s list; We were integral to revamping and getting back to the basics of leader development at Cadet Summer Training; We had nearly 500 Soldiers on mobilization or long term ADOS orders; We were instrumental in helping our Army build the force at the fastest rate since World War II by directly training over 16,000 citizen-volunteers and contributing to commissioning over 4,000 new officers from the Army ROTC program; We strengthened Families and their resiliency through a proactive Family Programs initiative and increased Safety readiness to a point where we are on the cusp of having a significant number of our companies and battalions earning the Army safety streamer; Our Soldiers and Families, particularly in Texas and Puerto Rico, endured and are still recovering from direct impacts from hurricanes and our Teammates in the west overcame loss from wildfires. In sum, a particularly amazing year and this issue of The Griffon will serve to give you a glimpse of the myriad of accomplishments achieved throughout the year. Yet there is so much more that we can, and indeed, must do.
I suggest that 2018 will be one of the most pivotal years in the history of the 108th and its three great Divisions. The Nation’s expectation to grow and ready the Army will be even more demanding as our world becomes more uncertain, ambiguous and volatile.
I suggest that 2018 will be one of the most pivotal years in the history of the 108th and its three great Divisions. The Nation’s expectation to grow and ready the Army will be even more demanding as our world becomes more uncertain, ambiguous and volatile. The core missions assigned to build the Army will increase and that will translate to increased reliance upon the Soldiers, Families and Civilians of the 108th. Certainly, we will be mobilizing more of our capability to increase the end strength of our Army. Regardless of your unit of assignment within the 108th, all will be called upon to contribute to our mission accomplishment. Drill Sergeant, Instructor, PMS/APMS, logistician, HR professional, or other key enabler within our formations, everyone is vital to achieving this mission. Simply, this is a no fail mission as the defense of our Nation is at stake.
In my estimation, the difference maker within the 108th Training Command is engaged leadership at every echelon within the Command. Acquiring the skills and discipline for combat does not just happen. It comes with practice, conditioning, training and individual readiness. The beaches of Normandy, the dense forest of the Ardennes, the rice patties of Vietnam, the deserts of the Middle East and the mountains of Afghanistan all called the American Soldier to take up arms to protect the interests of our Nation. Leaders cannot begin getting ready when the crucible of combat is at hand. Real leadership skills are honed and forged in garrison to be ready for the challenges of conflict. Preparing for war in times of peace is the responsibility of every American Soldier.
As I have shared before, what is particularly unique about the 108th Training Command is that most of the formation is comprised of leaders, defined by the Army as a Sergeant or above. With that, I expect all of us as leaders to hone and forge our leadership prowess while are in garrison while we have time on our side. I expect all leaders, officer, warrant officer and non-commissioned officer, to be the leader the Army and indeed the Nation has called you to be. I expect leaders in the 108th to be physically ready. If you’re not, start today. I expect leaders in the 108th to be professionally developed through their requisite PME. If you’re not educationally ready, start today. I expect leaders of the 108th to maintain their medical and dental readiness. If you’re not “green” in your personnel readiness indicators, start today. The list goes on and as leaders, you know what right looks like. At the end of the day, I challenge you to ready yourself in 2018.
In the 242 year history of our Army, we have seen time and again examples of great leaders. On October 24, 1944, Major General Aubrey S. Newman found his 24th Infantry Division returning with General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines. The amphibious assault was mired down at Leyte Island and Soldier losses were mounting on the beaches. MG Newman, astutely recognizing the circumstance he and his Division were in shouted out, “get the hell off the beach, Follow Me!” This served to motivate his Soldiers which inspired them to victory and eventually became the Infantry’s battle cry.
I assure you that 2018 will be one of the greatest years in the history of the Command. In an effort to keep the 108th Training Command from becoming mired in the minutia of mundane or irrelevant tasks, I simply share this, “Follow Me!” Follow me in making ourselves ready and the 108th Training Command “First in Training!