The backbone of the US Army is our Noncommissioned Officer Corps. From my recent assignment in the Pacific Theater, I can tell you that our Army’s NCO’s professionalism and technical expertise is the envy of our allies around the world. They create a force multiplier that does not exist elsewhere. How lucky we are to be in the 108th Training Command where our business is all about the NCO: recruiting, retention, training, and developing the world-famous Army Drill Sergeant.
I would like to give special recognition to three of our NCOs that distinguished themselves at Best Warrior 2020: SPC Stanley Thompson (USARC Soldier of the Year), SSG Benjamin Latham (USARC NCO of the Year), and SFC Shane Price (USARC Drill Sergeant of the Year). We are proud of these Soldiers and respect the amount of work they and their teams put forth for the competition! Additional thanks to USARC for hosting the competition which hones our Soldiers and unit trainers in their craft. You are all part of 108th Training Command history.
Unit legacy is an important part of Army tradition. Once as a young officer in the 75th Training Division, I went to an annual meeting of the 75th Division Association in Houston, TX. The event was full of WW2 Veterans and I was humbled by how these Veterans considered our Army Reserve unit as the current members of their old unit. It was just as if you went back to see one of your old units! At just 19 years old, these new Soldiers had landed at Le Havre and Rouen, 13 December 1944, and rushed to the front to fight the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge by 23 December. The stories were quite harrowing and unbelievable. One Sergeant recounted to me that he had lost his base plate to a German tank assault on day one and fought the rest of the battle by firing his mortar sitting the tube on the ground between his crossed legs. These heroics earned them the name “Bulge Busters.” I must imagine that the old Soldiers of the 108th would see you the same way. “Hey, I used to be in this unit!”
We are making our unit legacy today by serving the nation in the current operating environment of 2020. This is our squad. It is up to us to make the 108th Training Command a unit where we and our predecessors are proud of our unit lineage, our fellow Soldiers, and the command climate in which we served. As part of America’s Army Reserve, we also have a golden opportunity to demonstrate how well we take care of our squad in diverse communities across the country. They know their neighbors are part of America’s Army Reserve. Did someone from the 108th Training Command regularly call that Citizen-Soldier to check on the health and welfare of that Army Family during this time of isolation? Was that Army Reserve Soldier afforded the opportunity to work and provide for his or her family during times of economic hardship? Were Soldiers allowed to work from home during innovative Virtual Battle Assemblies or to take care of their children when the schools were closed? Just consider for a moment how mirroring the Army Values in your local communities reassures and encourages your civilian employers and neighbors that their Army, the United States Army and United States Army Reserve is resilient and strong. The 108th Training Command is a great place to work. Let us continue building and reinforcing our positive command climate and setting the example by showing our families, neighbors, employers, and even other units how we do it right. I am proud to serve with you. Be proud of your unit and take care of your squadmates!