Army NCO assumes joint leadership role at USTRANSCOM
November 16, 2009
- Command Sgt. Maj. TomAfA!s R. Hawkins is the new USTRANSCOM senior enlisted advisor, the first Soldier to hold the position.
- Hawkins previously served as senior NCO for Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command for more than five years.
- Hawkins traveled extensively to spend time with Soldiers and learn the many facets of transportation and logistics.
Transportation noncommissioned officers from duty stations around the world gathered at Scott Air Force Base to hear from the man who led them for five years and would be the first Soldier to serve as the senior enlisted advisor for U.S. Transportation Command.
Command Sgt. Maj. TomAfA!s R. Hawkins, command sergeant major for Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, took care of the enlisted Soldiers of SDDC for more than five years. He had one last opportunity to address them as their top NCO in a session Nov. 6. Hawkins assumed his new position Nov. 10.
The NCO session was part of the semi-annual SDDC Commanders\'/Command Sergeants Majors' Conference, which gathered military and civilian transportation and logistics experts from SDDC locations around the world. Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth J. McQuiston, USTRANSCOM senior enlisted advisor at the time, addressed the Army NCOs.
"You have more impact than almost anybody on Soldiers - and not just Soldiers, but Airmen, Sailors and Marines. They see those stripes and they know not only are we older and more seasoned, but we will stop what we're doing to take care of them,Aca,!A? McQuiston said. "I couldnAca,!a,,ct be happier having Command Sgt. Maj. Hawkins as my successor at USTRANSCOM."
As senior enlisted advisor, Hawkins serves as the principal advisor to the USTRANSCOM commander for all matters concerning joint force integration, career development, utilization and sustainment of more than 150,000 enlisted personnel serving the headquarters and USTRANSCOMAca,!a,,cs air, land and sea components throughout the world.
"His role as a coach, mentor and leader has been tremendous,Aca,!A? said Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, commanding general, SDDC. Aca,!A"He has been selfless with his time, traveling on holidays to be with our Soldiers around the world. Everything he does is all about caring for people, and that is the legacy he'll leave with SDDC."
Hawkins told his fellow NCOs, many of whom he mentored and watched progress to new and greater responsibilities, that the experience of working in diverse missions and environments with SDDC will benefit beyond the command.
"You may not realize, as you do your time in SDDC, the impact you will have on where you are going," he told the NCOs.
Hawkins hails from The Bronx, New York City. He entered the U.S. Army in August 1976, as a military policeman. After his first enlistment, Hawkins left the military to pursue his education. He re-entered the Army in July 1981 and attended the Motor Transportation Course at Fort Dix, N.J. Hawkins has held every NCO leadership position from team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant, first sergeant to command sergeant major. When he first arrived to serve as SDDCAca,!a,,cs 12th command sergeant major, he admittedly knew little about the command.
Aca,!A"I had no clue what SDDC was at the time,Aca,!A? Hawkins said. Aca,!A"When I first got here and started to learn about SDDC, the command was starting to evolve. When it was Military Traffic Management Command, we were responsible for moving cargo port-to-port. Now weAca,!a,,cre responsible for moving from the unit to the Forward Operating Base.Aca,!A?
Over his nearly five and a half years, Hawkins made it a point to learn from the experts about the missions of SDDC, the capabilities developed to meet them, and the commandAca,!a,,cs continuing focus on the warfighter.
Aca,!A"In between, weAca,!a,,cve developed and improved our information technology systems to better trace and track cargo in the pipeline so the commander in the field can find where his equipment is at the push of a button,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"With the Northern Distribution Network and Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication into Afghanistan, we can work with the troops on the ground to prioritize what goes through first to better help the warfighter.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"This has been an evolving, everyday learning experience. When something comes up, I find myself going to the subject matter expert within the command,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"For a transporter, coming to SDDC is like coming to Disneyland, because you get to see transportation in all its glory: trucks, trains, ships Aca,!" all are part of surface transportation; all come together and are coordinated here, commercial and military.Aca,!A?
That collaborative, multi-service environment has given Hawkins a perspective of the joint operational environment that expects the differences in the uniformed services to complement the joint mission.
Aca,!A"What we do is Aca,!Eoepurple,Aca,!a,,cAca,!A? said Hawkins, referring to the color used to represent multi-service -or joint - activity. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs not the people who are Aca,!Eoepurple.Aca,!a,,c Even at the joint table, thereAca,!a,,cs a reason we have different servicesAca,!A| It shouldnAca,!a,,ct make a difference what you wear or your status as military or civilian. WeAca,!a,,cre a workforce that needs each other to accomplish our missions. WeAca,!a,,cre teammates.Aca,!A?