Leading From the Front, CSM Howard Puts Soldiers First
April 23, 2009
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>-- How do we define leadership and pride' Army field manual 6-22 presents leadership as a process. Leadership is influencing people by providing purpose, directing, and motivating while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.
Webster's dictionary says pride is an a reasonable or justifiable self-respect.
Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia B. Howard, command sergeant major for the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, has both.
She has been in the U. S. Army for 22 years and has been part of the 87th CSSB for approximately seven months. She is the only female command sergeant major in the brigade.
"It's a great accomplishment to be a command sergeant major in the United States Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Howard. "Only 10 percent of noncommissioned officers ever make it to this level."
She added that getting to the rank and level she has reached took a lot of hard work and dedication to the units she served in, the Soldiers under her and ultimately herself.
"She has turned the battalion around; that's for sure," said Sgt. Anthony Clark, 87th CSSB Soldier. "Everything is a lot more organized. There's a lot of discipline coming back to the unit that wasn't there before."
Many people mentored her throughout her life, but she said a few have stood.
"I admire many great leaders from the past and present," said Command Sgt. Maj. Howard.
She mentioned Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton Johnson, command sergeant major for the 3rd Sustainment Bde.; Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews, the 3rd Infantry Division command sergeant major; and one of her past command sergeants major, Command Sgt. Maj. Dwayne B. Perry, who is currently the regimental command sergeant major, just to name a few.
"As a command sergeant major, you must overcome and adapt to any situation, at any time," said Command Sgt. Maj. Howard.
And adapt she did. Throughout her years in the Army, she has learned to change her leadership style to fit different circumstances. The way she led as an up and coming noncommissioned officer changed as she received higher rank and responsibility.
"Now, being a command sergeant major, leadership plays a very important role because at this level, what we say and what we do is very influential to Soldiers," she explained. "When we speak at this level, they listen. We have to be very careful what we say to Soldiers and how we say it. At this level, we make a big difference in our Soldiers' lives on a day-to-day basis."
Making a difference in Soldiers' lives is just the beginning. She said she feels that it's her duty and responsibility as a command sergeant major to take care of Soldiers. She looks at each and every individual Soldier as if they were her children.
"Her favorite quote is that she is hard, but fair," said Sgt. Clark. "She is definitely hard on the Soldiers, but she is fair to every single one of them."
Command Sergeant Major Howard enjoys her unit and the respect she has earned from them in the short time that she has been in command.
"When I come to work and get out there on that [physical training] field, I get that great greeting, 'Good morning, sergeant major,'" said Command Sgt. Maj. Howard. "It makes you feel good to be part of an organization where a unit shows great cohesion and pride. It's something I take seriously and take to heart."
The 87th CSSB is happy to have her and her strong morals and dedication to the standards.
"It's good to see a leader not afraid to get out there and get dirty with the Soldiers," said Sgt. Clark. "She takes charge and has brought back the Army to the 87th."