Discipline and service on the forefront of mentorship
July 8, 2014
Where does the senior enlisted advisor for the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division draw his inspiration and mentorship from in order to prepare him to provide professional and inspirational leadership to a brigade of more than 4,000 Soldiers?
Command Sgt. Maj. David Bass, 1/25 SBCT senior enlisted advisor, refers to his more than 22 years of experience in the Army and the senior noncommissioned officers that have mentored him. With Bass's extensive career in the Army, he has had the advantage of experiencing leadership from within almost every one of the Army's 10 divisions.
In a ceremony at the Physical Fitness Center on Fort Wainwright, Alaska May 20, Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims passed responsibility for the brigade combat team to Bass. During the ceremony Bass expressed his enthusiasm to hold the position and begin working for the unit.
"I look forward to working for the Soldiers of the 1/25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. No mistake about it, I work for them, they don't work for me," said Bass.
It is no wonder that Bass would look to his mentors as he frames his leadership philosophy and strives to set the example for junior Soldiers and leaders as Bass's mentors did for him.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Taylor, a command sergeant major with the 25th Infantry Division at the time and Bass' brigade-level senior mentor, demonstrated how a leader sets the example.
"Leaders are the example and must get out and do the things with the Soldiers that we ask them to do," said Bass. "Don't ask your subordinates to do things that you would not be willing or able to do yourself."
When Bass was in 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, the brigade command sergeant major, Karl Morgan, explained to Bass an effective way to deal with change.
"The Army is constantly changing and as a leader, you have to adapt and understand that there are no absolutes," said Bass.
Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Hearn served as Bass' battalion command sergeant major in the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment and according to Bass, demonstrated what it means to be patient as a leader.
The lessons from these mentors and the many others that served with Bass were instrumental in molding the man, the leader, the mentor that is now Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. David Bass, with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Bass came to 1/25th at a time of transition: the Army is changing its focus after more than 12 years of war, the brigade is shifting its structure to align with the Army 2020 concept, and the brigade is beginning a new chapter in history as the brigade's senior leaders complete their tours in Alaska and move on while the new leaders stand in front of the brigade and subordinate battalions.
As a result of the structure and personnel changes, the experience of the brigade is changing. Many combat-experienced Soldiers are moving on and the personnel void is being filled with new Soldiers who are fresh to the Army and may not have seen combat.
How does the senior noncommissioned officer adapt and build the team that is the 1/25th, Arctic Wolves?
"Discipline and enforcing standards for officer and NCOs," said Bass. "For NCOs it's important to take care of Soldiers."
How does an NCO take care of Soldiers in the Army of today to ensure a cohesive efficient and combat ready force?
According to Bass there are five ways to take care of Soldiers:
1. Make sure Soldiers are trained
2. Make sure Soldiers are clothed and housed
3. Help Soldiers navigate through personal and professional problems
4. Reward Soldiers for their work
5. Instill discipline in Soldiers
This list of tasks for NCOs provides a roadmap to success for leaders and Bass has some further advice or direction to follow in order to be successful:
1. Do what you are told
2. Do it when you are told to do it
3. Be where you are supposed to be
4. Be there when you are supposed to be there
5. Be in the right uniform
A simple list to accomplish the complex tasks in a very complicated time. Bass explained how Soldiers can accomplish all their tasks on time to standard and be successful.
"Discipline; there is more than one kind of discipline: There is self discipline where a Soldier does the right thing when no one is looking, and there is the discipline achieved through counseling and corrective actions on areas that are deficient," said Bass.
Bass has served in almost every environment and condition available on Earth. He has served in the cold climates of Fort Drum, N.Y.; the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan; the tropics of Hawaii; and the rain of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Bass also spent time stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., in Texas and Kentucky. Alaska is a new experience for Bass and he expressed his excitement at getting the opportunity to operate in the Arctic and said he is confident his keys to success in the Army are as relevant in Alaska's interior as they were in his other duty stations and the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Taking care of Soldiers applies in any environment," said Bass.
Though he appears more than ready to work and excited about the brigade's scheduled training, he said he and his family are looking forward to the opportunity to see all that Alaska has to offer in the way of recreation and family entertainment.