USCENTCOM Army Element CSM: Soldier input is important
August 27, 2009
<B> FORT STEWART, Ga. </B>- The Army is going through changes. From the way they deploy to the way the Army treats and handles Soldiers in garrison, the Army has been under a major reconstruction from the ground up.
This was the topic of discussion when Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Pritchett, U.S. Central Command Army Element command sergeant major, visited the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Aug. 20 for their Noncommissioned Officer Development Program.
Command Sergeant Major Pritchett has been in the Army for more than 36 years and is the top female sergeant major in the Army. She was the first woman to serve as a command sergeant major in a combat theater, leading more than 27,000 coalition forces as the U.S. Army, Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan command sergeant major, and has been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in all aspects of military leadership and training.
"In my 36 years, the Army has gone through a lot of change, but nothing more prominent than what has been going on in the last couple of years," she said before the NCODP. "Knowledge management is the biggest change, with information at your fingertips."
During the NCODP, Command Sergeant Major Pritchett explained how the Army is going from a "do what I say" Army to giving the Soldier a greater role and greater input.
"We are in tune to listening to our Soldiers," she said. "If a Soldier in the field says something is not working, we're listening. Probably more so today than we ever have in the 36 years that I've been in. We are seeking the input of Soldiers and realizing that not everybody up here has the great ideas. We are only as good as the sum of all our parts."
She also let the Soldiers know that it was okay to make mistakes.
"I am a firm believer that experience is gained through mistakes," she said. "If nobody made any mistakes then no one would learn. (However), there are some things that are just not mistakes, like willfully violating a rule. Drinking and driving is not okay; that's not a mistake. That's choosing to know the rule and ignore it."
Sergeant Brandi Brooks, 3rd Sustainment Bde. S-1, said she enjoyed the speech, was impressed with what she had to say and was inspired to continue in her Army career.
"It was really high speed," she said. "As a young private I wish I would have had the opportunity to hear a speech like that because it was very motivating."
Master Sergeant Frank McQueen, 3rd Sustainment Bde. S-3, thought the speech was great and topical.
"Why it was so good was because it focused on where NCOs have been, where they need to go and the direction they need to take to get there," said he said.
In closing, she let everyone in attendance know that she was proud of the Army and happy to be there talking to Soldiers.
"It's great to be back around a lot of Soldiers on an Army installation. There's nothing like waking up and hearing reveille play, and it was kind of neat waking up to Dog Face Soldier this morning," she said.
"My career is winding down, and I am getting ready to retire after 36 years. To be able to go out and talk to Soldiers a couple more times before I retire in March 2010 is great. It's great to be around Soldiers and get that green blood pumping again."