The Talented Major Wilson
April 18, 2011
- S1 encompasses more than just paperwork
- Soldier morale
- National Guard Unit as capable and professional as Active Duty Counterparts
Throughout the 230th Sustainment Brigade there are numerous leaders. While it may seem as though majors are a dime a dozen within the brigade, Maj. Grover Lee Wilson III, stands out in a crowd. Born at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, Wilson has grown up around the nation. Initially, the quiet, relaxed demeanor may fool you. Make no mistake though, this major is not afraid to follow willingly or lead by example.
After joining the Tennessee Army National Guard in 1986, Wilson served three years as a Cannon Crewman before going to Officer Candidate School in 1989. Initially, he attended the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Officer Basic Course before changing his officer branch back to his roots, Artillery. He continued to work within the Field Artillery branch for the next twelve years, including a deployment to Iraq with the 278th Armored Calvary Regiment, headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn. Shortly after completing his deployment to Iraq, Wilson transferred to the 230th Sustainment Brigade in Chattanooga, Tenn., currently commanded by Col. Mark Hart. Several military schools later, Wilson was hand-picked to be the Brigade's Personnel Officer In Charge.
To some, even within the Army, Wilson's job doesn't seem to be an important piece to the Army machine. However, when asked about his job and the function of the Brigade Personnel Office, also known as the brigade S1, Wilson is quick to point out the often underestimated importance of being the 'people person.' "Responsible for providing Human Resources Support to both military and civilian personnel, we are the primary staff that oversees this function," said Wilson.
"Specific responsibilities include unit manning, personnel readiness, personnel information management, personnel accounting/strength management, casualty operations, Morale Welfare and Recreation postal operations. But there is much more than what is listed. The commander uses the S1 as a sounding board for ideas, questions, inquiries and any other duties that he deems are appropriated for the S1," said Wilson.
When questioned about his most recent task at hand with the 230th, Wilson is very assertive and confident that the Brigade S1 is handling one of the most essential tasks - keeping the Soldiers happy. Wilson expounds, "This is our job to make sure that Soldiers get promoted in a timely manner, that their pay is correct, that their personal information is correct and kept confidential, that they get the awards they earned and deserve, that they receive their proper evaluations. This all ensures that the soldiers of this Brigade are given the credit they deserve and that the commander has all of the necessary data to make critical decisions regarding personnel issues."
How does all of this support the brigade to support the drawdown in Iraq' "The brigade as a whole is supporting the Iraqi drawdown by providing the trucks, materials and personnel to retrograde everything out of Iraq. It is our mission to do that safely, efficiently, and with the thought to provide MWR, medical and religious support to our service members riding the roads daily in Iraq."
Wilson continued, "The S1's function in this drawdown is to ensure that we continue to take care of the Soldiers assigned to this brigade. We do have a unique mission in that we have command and control over a broad range of services. We have the Active Component, Reserve Component, National Guard, Air Force and Army Boat Units that fall under the flag of the brigade." Wilson explained this mission will show the Pentagon that a National Guard unit can provide the same level of professionalism and dedication as Active Component units that historically have had this mission.
In the midst of a deployment, it is easy to have bad days, regardless of the little things you put into your schedule to counter them. Wilson says simply that your attitude is what determines a good or bad day, "there are days that you may feel rushed and that you don't have time to go eat or workout, but those are few and far in between. It is always a good day...you are alive, you will get a good meal, you have a decent place to lay your head and you have somewhere to go relax or play, so one should not really have a bad day."
When asked about the next year, Wilson expressed a lot of hope. He goes as far as to say he envisions the 230th Sustainment Brigade impacting our Nation's History, "We are participating in a very historical mission. First of all, the United States has not strategically closed out of a theater of war. We stayed in Germany and Japan after WWII. We are still in Korea and we just left Vietnam. I say this to help the young Soldiers of today's Army realize that they are not only participating in history, they are also making history. The 278th Armored Calvary Regiment made history in 2004 and 2005 when they deployed to Iraq and performed a nearly flawless combat action against the enemy. I believe that this is the reason that Col. Hart is so hard on the Officers and Senior Noncommissioned Officers in the brigade. He wants them to relay to the junior Soldiers in this command that we are creating history and he wants the world and the State of Tennessee to know that we did our best and served the citizens of the United States of America with distinction, honor, integrity and valor."