Recently, Command Sgt. Maj. Riti and I attended the Army Professional Forum (APF). In attendance was our Army’s senior leadership and command teams. The APF was an extraordinary opportunity to discuss our Army and the bedrock principle which makes our profession, and indeed our Army, the greatest force the world has ever seen in the history of the world. It is the foundational principle of trust.
As the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley articulated, we are America’s Army: indivisible and that we have a contract with America. Our contract with the American people rests in the notion that they trust us to be the ready and relevant force to answer their call when needed. Moreover, they trust us with their sons and daughters to insure we do everything to train and equip them to be America’s force for decisive land power.
America trusts that we will defend her and preserve the ideals and freedoms which we hold so dear. In this contract with America, we as professionals must never lose sight of the fact the we are of America, with America and for America, in all we say and do.
A second area of trust is directional in focus. First we must trust up. We must trust that our senior leadership, both civilian and military, are making the best decisions for our Army and America. We must trust that they are doing everything that can be done, given the information they have available to make the decision at the time that decision must be made. Additionally, we must trust laterally. We must trust those be it units or individuals, multi-national partners or those in the inter-agency. And finally, we must trust down. We must trust our subordinates to pursue excellence and strive to make themselves ready to execute their mission with excellence. We must work as a team and trust that each will bring to bear that which is necessary to secure victory. It is the essence of our operating construct of mission command. In the decentralized method of mission command, we must trust up, laterally and down.
The third area of trust is nested in each of us. As Soldiers and Civilians within the 108th Training Command (IET), we must maintain the trust which has been placed in us. Trust that we will uphold that which we espouse in the Soldier’s creed: to be physically and mentally tough; trained and proficient in our warrior tasks and drills; and to be an expert and a professional in order to deploy, engage and destroy the enemies of the United States of America. It is our solemn duty and promise. If we fail to do so, lives may be lost and our existence as a nation may be in peril. Further, we must be America’s Army: indivisible and we can do so by exemplifying respect for one another.
The 108th Training Command is essential to America’s Team. We are comprised of arguably America’s premier drill sergeants and Army ROTC instructors and faculty. We are and should be the standard bearers for what right looks like. If we are to remain as our motto states, “first in training”, we must excel just as those who have gone before us did.
Recently, we hosted a Senior Leader Forum at the Command Headquarters. Attended by previous command teams (8 former CGs and 5 former CSMs), it was a remarkable opportunity to gain insight from these great leaders and to highlight the past, present and future of the Command and its three great Divisions, which the reputation of the Command rests upon: the 95th Training Division’s Iron Men of Metz, the 98th Training Division Iroquois warriors, and the Timberwolves from the 104th Training Division.
As LTG Luckey says, we must be ready to “fight tonight”. To do so, individually and collectively we must be ready now! The torch of preserving America’s freedom has been passed to us. The threat is real and we must be ready to thwart it.
In sum, I leave you this final thought. Trust is fragile. It can be lost in an instant and can take years, or even decades, to recover. In this year of 2017, I challenge each of us to prove ourselves worthy of that trust which has been placed in us.
Trust. Treasure it. Protect it.
Give your very best effort to be worthy of it. Never say or do anything which will bring discredit to our nation, our Army, or us. Through it all, when we come out of the other side of the crucible of combat we will not be found wanting.
First in Training! Army Strong.