Skip to comments.Senior Noncommissioned Officers Key in Iraq, Afghanistan
Posted on 10/22/2009 5:37:59 AM PDT by Saije
When the Army made the decision earlier this year to install the first noncommissioned officer to head the Sergeants Major Academy, there were concerns about whether an enlistee would be able to wield the sort of power it takes to change the way troops are taught to fight wars today.
"There was some angst," Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler explains from the office where he began his new job as commandant in August. "Change is hard."
That has been true throughout the military, particularly since Chandler's days as a young sergeant, when his unit practiced for weeks to pull off finely executed tank maneuvers. Admittedly complex, those pale in comparison, he says, with the leadership challenges senior NCOs face today. "Then, we were training for 'knowns.' " Today, NCO leaders are preparing their soldiers to "think through unknowns," a far trickier undertaking. Chandler cites the "three-block wars" in Iraqi cities as an example. In the face of attacks, or possible attacks, "you had to look at the threat and decide whether to escalate," he says. "You need that critical-thinking ability."***
This increasingly includes, NCOs add, the need to take into account the impact America's current wars have on soldiers. When Command Sgt. Maj. David Yates, director of the Sergeants Major Course at the academy, was in Iraq, his unit was responsible for a piece of terrain the size of Delaware. He recalls one of his platoons returning from a monthlong scouting mission, then being chosen by a commander hours later to be the quick-reaction force for an evening operation. "You have to say, 'Let's think about this,' " notes Yates, who recalls the exhausted soldiers walking around in their workout clothes because their fatigues were being washed. "Sometimes, we have to be the sanity check, the voice of reason."
(Excerpt) Read more at usnews.com ...
Concerns? Personally (and speaking as a retired commissioned officer) I have never once in my entire life doubted the ability of a senior NCO to do anything - except possibly walk on water. They might not be able to manage that.
Wielding power seems to come easily.
Speaking from experience, senior NCOs are key no matter where you are, regardless of what branch of the service you are in.
The Academy has had enlisted Company Commanders since the late eighties. They have finally taken the next logical step-an enlisted Commandant.
CSM, USARMY, RET
Glad you qualified that with a possibly.
ping for later read.
"A military jury imposed a mild sentence today on Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney, ordering that the Army's former top enlisted soldier be reprimanded and demoted for obstructing justice, the lone conviction resulting from the high-profile court-martial in which he was cleared of sexually harassing six servicewomen.
The jury of four officers and four enlisted soldiers decided that Sergeant Major McKinney should be demoted to master sergeant, which would still entitle him to collect a sizable pension for his more than 29 years of service. The panel rejected a range of stiffer penalties, the maximum being five years in prison and dishonorable discharge.
The decision today ended an investigation and court-martial that began with the first public accusations of sexual misconduct against the sergeant major in February 1997 by Sgt. Maj. Brenda Hoster, his former public affairs aide.
The month-long court-martial ended on Friday when Sergeant Major McKinney, the first black man to be Sergeant Major of the Army and therefore responsible for the welfare of the service's 410,000 enlisted men and women, was resoundingly vindicated, acquitted of 18 counts of sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice. The one guilty count related to a phone call in which he coached one of the women, Staff Sgt. Christine Fetrow, about what she should tell military investigators. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/17/us/sergeant-major-gets-one-step-demotion-but-no-time-in-jail.html
If it weren’t for Non-Commissioned Officers, the Officer Corp wouldn’t be able to wipe their own rear ends;)
Anyone with such a concern is disconnected from reality. This from a former NCO and retired officer...
Senior NCOs are the lynchpin of any operation. These folks need to know the nation (or what’s left of it) is behind them.