NCO holds officer's job for two commanders
Sgt. 1st Class Sylvester Taylor serves as the commanding general's aide, a rare honor for a noncommissioned officer.

Traditionally, commanding generals select junior commissioned officers as their aides-de-camp.
Those junior officers are chosen from the best of their peer group, and given the arguably grueling job of making sure the general has what he or she needs to accomplish a variety of missions.

Fort Jackson's Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Bradley W. May, has a noncommissioned officer as an aide. Sgt. 1st Class Sylvester Taylor, an administrative specialist, is a member of the Army Reserve who was ordered to active duty in 2004 to support Task Force Marshall.

In 2007, the Army was experiencing a shortage of junior commissioned officers and many positions they previously filled went vacant, including that of aide-de-camp at Fort Jackson.

"The commander here at the time was (Brigadier) General (James H.) Schwitters and he said he'd be willing to take an NCO for the job," said Taylor. "My senior leaders came to me and told me they thought I'd be great for the job."

His former boss, Col. Robert Choppa, was commander of the 171st Infantry Brigade then.

"SFC Taylor was selected by the senior NCO and endorsed by me as he is fit, intelligent, mature, patient and professional. He had the right personality to fit in," Choppa said.

When Schwitters relinquished command in July, May had the option of choosing his own aide-de-camp. Instead, he kept Taylor. Since then, the general said he's been pleased with Taylor's performance.

"He embodies all the characteristics we look for in our NCOs. It remains a privilege to serve with someone who is so dedicated to our profession and has such a passion for taking care of Soldiers.He has a very bright future," May said.

A married father of two children, ages 6 and 5, Taylor said he accompanies May on Temporary
Duty two or three days of any given week. He doesn't have a set schedule with days off. He's on call 24 hours a day. He takes leave when the general does, and that is not often. In addition to working for the commanding general, Taylor's job is to make sure the general's wife is fully supported for any military functions she may have to host or attend.

While the general has a staff that makes up his schedule, Taylor's job is to make sure everything is going the way it is supposed to - from airline tickets confirmation to departure times for the general's driver. If someone needs to change a detail about a meeting or plans with the general, it is Taylor they call - sometimes in the middle of the night.

He takes it all in stride, refusing to take personal credit for securing a job he calls a blessing.

"This is a great job. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn and to be mentored and to grow," he said.

Julia.Simpkins@us.army.mil

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16