First Team's command sergeant major reflects on his new assignment
June 18, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - With the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team already training on the ground in Kuwait as they start a 15-month deployment to Iraq and the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team just a few months away from a fall deployment, the First Team's new command sergeant major has a lot on his mind these days as his division continues to prepare for another deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Since taking the role as the 1st Cavalry Division's senior-most noncommissioned officer in a change of responsibility ceremony a little over two weeks ago, Campbellsburg, Ind. native Command Sgt. Maj. Rory L. Malloy has been reflecting on his new duties as well as some of his main objectives as the division looks toward going back into the combat zone.
"Some of our main goals will be ensuring that the Soldiers are well-trained and well-disciplined as we head to our next deployment," said Malloy. "That saves lives. Soldiers who are well-disciplined always perform well on the battlefield."
"We're also concentrating on quality of life issues to ensure that Soldiers have the best possible facilities to work in, live in and train in," the command sergeant major added.
Some of the most important tasks over the next few months, said Malloy, will be ensuring that Soldiers maintain their proficiency on their weapons systems along with honing their basic medical skills.
"Regardless of what job in the military they have, every Soldier needs to be able to do the basics and be able to fight the enemy," Malloy said. "Whether they are part of an M-1 (Abrams) tank crew or fire an M-4 rifle, they need to be proficient."
Along with that, according to Malloy, staying physically fit and keeping up a fitness regimen not only helps the division's troopers to maintain their strength and stamina, but should a Soldier sustain a wound, it might just save their life.
"Very fit Soldiers can survive trauma better and are able to live through shock often associated with injuries," he said.
In order for training to be worth its salt, according to Malloy, it must meet several guidelines that help to build a Soldier's confidence and competence.
"Soldiers need to have a good understanding of and be comfortable with the rules of engagement," he said. "All training needs to be as realistic as possible and to be as close to combat conditions as possible."
Malloy added that some of the ways good training does this is through the use of obstacles and the same kinds of distractions that Soldiers actually encounter in combat.
"They need to have a good understanding of the real hazards on the battlefield such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices)," said Malloy. "They must become proficient in direct fire drills which we use to defeat the enemy."
"We must fight the way we train and train the way in which we fight," he added.
Much of the realistic training the division's Soldiers receive comes through their participation in scenarios at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La. and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., according to Malloy.
While training on basic Soldier skills and realistic combat scenarios is crucial, the division's troopers must also educate themselves to work with the Iraqi people.
"They need to be able to have a basic understanding of the culture in which they are going into," said Malloy. "The better we know them (through learning their customs), the better we will be able to interact with the people in Iraq."
"The way the Soldiers carry themselves as 'America's ambassadors' is extremely important to building relationships there," he added.
Another major priority for the division, according to Malloy, will be taking care of its families.
"It's the Soldier's responsibility as well as that of their leaders to make sure that their families are ready for the deployment," said Malloy. "One of the things the (1st Cav. Div.) commanding general and I are advising to ensure families are ready is to tell them to be as involved in as many activities as possible."
Some of these encouraged activities include getting First Team families involved in their community through such venues as schools, scouting and local churches.
"My thought process on that is a Soldier feels and performs better when he knows his family is taken care of and it's much easier for family members to ask for help if they know someone in a community or organization," said Malloy. "We're not sure how long we'll be in Iraq, so we're going to ensure that we have the facilities and support agencies in place so Soldiers' families are taken care of while we are deployed."
As a leader, Malloy said he wants to be seen someone who is approachable and gets involved with 1st Cav. Div. Soldiers.
"I have a participative type of leadership style. I'm open to ideas, regardless of what rank they come from, and some of the best ideas have come from privates," said Malloy. "Don't be afraid to ask me questions, I love to hear people's thoughts."
"In the decisions I have to make, I will always keep in mind the best interests of the Soldiers, the 1st Cavalry Division and the Army," he added, explaining that the decision must also enable and support the division's ability to carry out the mission. "If it meets that criteria, then that's the direction I'll go."
Although, he likes to get involved, Malloy said he is not out to interfere with the way command sergeants major in the division's battalions and brigades take care of business.
"I'm not of the opinion that they need much guidance from me, just a few basic policies so they can train and go out and make their own decisions," said Malloy. "They don't need a lot of directives or decisions from higher headquarters. They get paid to command their own elements."
For Malloy, getting the opportunity to serve with the Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers of the First Team as their command sergeant major was like a dream come true, he stated.
"Just to be considered for the position as a sergeant major in a division in the Army is a great honor, and being selected for the 1st Cav. Div. is a very humbling experience," said Malloy. "This division has one of the richest, most storied histories."
"Now being able to stand on the hallowed fields (of the 1st Cav. Div.) where warriors, legends and heroes have stood-well, you can't put it into words and words can't express how honored I feel," he added.