Salley award recipient credits military with citizen, Soldier skills
April 7, 2014
Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Santos' leadership skills are tested daily as a business owner, in his civilian capacity, and as a senior leader and advisor at the 7/98th Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 94th Training Division.
"The Army has given me the confidence and ability to take on challenges," said Santos, the owner of an electrical contracting company. "I love what I do in the military, and the leadership skills translate to what I do on the civilian side."
In March, Santos received the 80th Training Command (Total Army School System) Command Sgt. Maj. Morris Salley Jr., Award.
"When I was told I was nominated I felt it was an honor," said Santos, a resident of Falls River, Mass. "I was thrilled and surprised that I had won because there were some fine sergeants major nominated."
The 80th TC commissioned the Command Sgt. Maj. Morris Salley Jr., Award to recognize the battalion command sergeant major who most diligently carries out his or her duties and responsibilities.
According to the criteria, the award is presented annually in honor and remembrance of Command Sgt. Maj. Morris Salley Jr., who served at the command when it was the 80th Division (Institutional Training).
"The award represents leadership and service," Santos said. "As leaders we have to understand that our Soldiers are trying to find a balance with family and our civilian and military careers."
Santos said his military experience, past and present, has helped him as a civilian and shaped him as the leader that he is today.
"When I was a private, my platoon sergeant would say 'I want you to do this, and this is why,'" Santos said. "At the time I didn't realize he was setting me up for success and mentoring me at the same time."
Those same methods come in handy today when Santos mentors Soldiers, as he in turn tries to help them succeed.
He recommends entrepreneurship to Citizen-Soldiers because of the difficulty involved in balancing a civilian and military career, and because it has worked for him.
"I have been lucky and fortunate to own my own company," he added. "I don't think I would own my own business if I wasn't in the military."