Back to Basics " Sergeants Major Style
May 27, 2011
FORT LEE, Va. - Advancing into the future sometimes means looking to the past and getting “back to basics.” This was a common theme of the 2011 Sergeants Major Conference held during Sustainment Week 2011, May 9 - 12.
Sustainment Week provided a platform for idea and information sharing that included the commanders’ and warrant officer conferences. Those professional development forums were followed by the Association of the United States Army Sustainment Symposium and Exposition and Combined Logistics Excellence Awards ceremony.
An added feature of the conference that tied into the “back to basics” theme, was a brief called “NCO’s Making History” presented by the Combined Arms Support Command historian, Dr. Steve E. Anders. He opened with comments on the traditional role of the noncommissioned officer throughout American military history. The presentation focused on the four fundamental characteristics of sustainment and concluded with a tribute to the nearly 900 sustainment Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“As the ‘backbone of the Army’, the NCO serves as front-line trainers, small unit leaders and is the standard bearer to ensure that order, discipline and proper guidelines are maintained,” Anders said. “Sustainment Soldiers are courageous: they have served in every war, every major campaign and virtually every important battle throughout American history.”
The enlisted leaders covered many topics during the one-day event. Some of these included updates to training, equipment and structure. One of the major focuses was leadership and its importance as the force transitions back to a garrison environment.
“We as sergeants major are the gatekeepers, standard bearers and servants to the system. We have to ensure we are taking care of our young Soldiers and teaching them how to be leaders,” said Command Sgt. Maj. C.C. Jenkins, Jr., Combined Arms Support Command command sergeant major.
The wealth of knowledge and experience was vast as 56 sergeants major from the Army converged on Fort Lee. Representatives from numerous commands were present as the senior NCOs discussed the future of the sustainment community.
“Hearing all the changes directly from the regimental sergeants major helps me make sure the Reserves is on point with the active duty component,” Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Schultz, Office of the Chief, Army Reserve command sergeant major, said. “I will be able to convey a lot of this back to the Reserves during our leader’s conference.”
Jenkins was excited with the attendance this year and hopes as the word spreads it will allow the conference to be an even bigger success next year. After the conference, the sergeants major joined participants at the AUSA Sustainment Symposium and Exposition at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.