End of the trail for top Ironhorse trooper: Command Sergeant Major Stanley D. Small retires after 30
July 28, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - Looking out of the window with a smile on his face Command Sergeant Major (ret) Stanley D. Small, previous command sergeant major for 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, reminisced about more than 30 years of service to the United States Army.
Small, thinking he didn't have the discipline or interest to go to college, joined the Army in 1977 through the Delayed Entry Program. He spent the majority of his life in the Army. "I grew up in the Army," Small proudly stated.
The Huntsville, Ala. native shared that he learned what a noncommissioned officer should be from his first platoon sergeant, who set the example of a leader, when he was a young armor crewman.
Small stated that a true leader is someone who is adaptive, motivated and genuinely cares.
"Leadership is a balancing act: common sense with discipline and throw in a little compassion and understanding," he shares.
Through his entire career, Small only focused on the task at hand and accomplishing it to the best of his ability.
"I never worried about the next step, I've always let it take care of it itself instead," he said.
His hard work paid off, and he continued to move up in the ranks and receive numerous awards. Small was stationed in many installations including a few overseas assignments. Small has deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom and twice to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He spent his last eight years in the Army as the command sergeant major of the Ironhorse Brigade. During the lengthy assignment, Small interacted with and changed many Soldiers' lives on a day to day basis, said Curtis, Neb. native, Spc. Brittany Raine, a health care specialist for 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Raine served as Small's personal medic during his last rotation to Iraq (OIF 06-08).
Small influenced everyone he interacted with. Columbia, S.C native, Sgt. 1st Class Niyonde Weaver, the only female senior noncommissioned officer at the brigade level for "Ironhorse", turned to Small for mentorship. He treated everyone equally, regardless of gender, and helped develop leadership skills, stated Weaver, the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear noncommissioned officer in charge for the "Ironhorse" Brigade.
"Looking back on the many years and the leaders I had, I realize I took a little bit of all the good and built my own playbook on being a leader," said Small.
"He shared all his knowledge and experience and ensured that all his Soldiers within the entire brigade were properly taken care of and provided with everything necessary," said Raine.
His dedicated service was fully supported throughout his career by his wife, Nilmar Small and their three sons: Marcus, Jonathan and Earlest Small.
"I had great support all along from family and close friends. I knew I didn't have to worry, which made it easy to concentrate on what was on hand," said Small.
After more than thirty years, Small is ready to start a new chapter of his book.
"It's best to leave when people want you to stay," Small said with a sparkle in his eye.
Small is confident that the new leadership will sustain the excellence of the Ironhorse Brigade. "The new leadership will set the course for the future and there is enough continuity to understand and maintain the 'Ironization," he said.
He closes his career knowing he's made a difference and that the Army will always be a part of his life. He plans on taking a vacation and then beginning his hunt for a job.
"My motto now is enjoying day by day," he smiled.