Today, I want to share some career and leadership lessons I learned from NCOs during my military career. I was very fortunate to work with lots of great NCOs throughout my military career. Most were good, some were okay and a few were exceptional. Listed below, you will read about some of the lessons I learned from each of these NCOs. They are listed in no particular order. Enjoy.
# 1 1SG Wettig – He was my 1SG while I was a Company Commander. He taught me a lot of things, but the one thing that really stood out was his love for the Soldiers. He was always very focused on making sure the Soldiers were taken care of and cared for. He was their biggest advocate and he always made sure there was a balance between mission accomplishment and Soldier care.
# 2 1SG Williams – 1SG Williams was my 1SG while I was a young and green Platoon Leader. He was an old 82nd Airborne guy and he was definitely old school. He was so focused on training and discipline. He ran a tight ship and the one thing that really stands out with me is how much time he wanted to spend training his Soldiers. training was his world! At the time, I thought it was a bit overboard, but looking back, he knew what he was up to!
# 3 CSM Morrison – He was my Battalion CSM while I was a young LT. The one thing that really stands out for me was his support of his officers. Him and his Battalion Commander, and other Officers, were all on the same sheet of paper. They supported each other. It was never Officers vs. NCOs. He kept Soldiers in line, led by example and made sure that the entire unit was unified.
# 4 SGM Magnum – He was my Operations SGM in my last job in the Army. He was an Infantryman and he was extremely committed to getting a CSM billet. He worked very hard and stayed persistent for a couple years UNTIL he got the job he really wanted. The key takeaway is that if you want something bad enough you must be persistent.
# 5 SSG Hairston and SFC Childress – These two NCOs were my supervisors while I was a young Soldier in the Old Guard. Back then, I had an attitude problem and somewhat of a discipline problem. I wasn’t a bad Soldier, but I wasn’t exceptional either. I had a chip on my shoulder and didn’t like authority. These two NCOs taught me RESPECT. They taught me to respect my NCOs and do what they told me to do. I’ve come a long way since then, but I am very grateful to have had their example to follow.
# 6 SSG Drain – He was my first Platoon Sergeant when I was a brand new Platoon Leader. He was very laid back and easy going, but all of the Soldiers in my platoon would have followed him anywhere. He taught me how to stay calm and to keep my emotions in check. He typically had a poker face and seldom let anything upset him.
# 7 SFC Luna – He was my second Platoon Sergeant. He really helped teach me the difference between what Officers and what NCOs are supposed to do. He helped me really understand my job as a Platoon Leader and his job as a Platoon Sergeant, so we could each stay in our lane.
# 8 SFC Trimble – He was my Readiness NCO while I was in Company Command. He is without a doubt the best NCO I ever served with. He was a doer and the one thing I really learned from him was that there was a time and place to speak your mind. He was never scared to tell a senior NCO or Officer if there was a problem. He was always looking out for Soldiers and sometimes would even place himself in a bad predicament to take care of his troops.
# 9 SFC Dean – He was a young NCO when I was a young Lieutenant. He was a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and he was a fast track NCO, making E-7 is seven years. He was quiet, but very smart. He was also a good leader. One thing that I really learned from him was how to manage your career. He always knew what he needed to do to get the next promotion and he always had a game plan to get there.
# 10 1SG Haines – He was my 1SG while I was a Company XO. 1SG Haines was really good at his job and the Soldiers respected and trusted him. He was a pretty laid back and easy going guy, but he made sure that things got done. The one thing I learned from him is how and Officer and NCO should interact and work together (the Officer and NCO Relationship). Him and the CO had tremendous respect for each other and both knew their job and roles.
In summary, these are some career and life lessons that I learned while working with my NCOs during my military career. As I mentioned earlier, I was very fortunate to have great NCOs serving alongside with me. They helped shape me into a good person and good military leader.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a NCO that has influenced you a lot? If so, leave a comment below and tell me about it. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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