By Alexia GardnerFebruary 20, 2018
The change of responsibility is one of the oldest Army traditions, celebrating the past accomplishments of the outgoing Sergeant Major or First Sergeant and the hopeful future for the incoming. On Monday, February 12 the 175th Financial Management Support Center said goodbye to its long-time senior enlisted advisor and friend, Sgt. Maj. Austin A. Mclaughlin, and welcomed Sgt. Maj. Michael R. McCabe.
Mclaughlin arrived to the 175th shortly before their operational deployment to the Central Command area, in February of 2015, and his total time in service has amounted to a quarter of a century. Throughout those 25 years, he has developed himself as a leader and served as a positive mentor to those around him.
"Working under him gave me a different perspective and point of view," Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Cropper said. "I learned how to be a leader in different ways; and different avenues on how you can approach things."
Mclaughlin, a Bowie, Texas native, has been an effective leader by following some of the leadership philosophies he believes in. One includes being there for your Soldiers, but not being in their way.
"I believe first and foremost that good people trump good leadership any day of the week," Mclaughlin said. "Sometimes, and especially in this unit, you're exceptionally blessed that it's been one good person after another that comes into the organization and made it great."
Mclaughlin has had several accomplishments throughout his career, but he feels the ones made here will ensure his legacy. He worked diligently to establish relationships across what is known as the Fiscal Triad (resource management, contracting, and disbursing) and with joint financial managers, across the Pacific, to ensure commanders and units have what they need to accomplish the mission.
"This is my legacy unit. This is where I felt I made my final and most influential impact in my military career," Mclaughlin said.
Through his many years of service, Mclaughlin has remained humble and patriotic. He knows what his priorities are and has stayed true to himself and hasn't let his rank go to his head.
"I've always maintained that the military doesn't solely define me," Mclaughlin said. "I've stayed true to being a family man first, loving my country, and dedicated to the service, but understanding that when I leave that I'm Austin Mclaughlin."
It is a bittersweet moment for the unit to see Mclaughlin go, but they understood this moment was inevitable and are excited to see what McCabe has in store for them, as new leadership always brings a fresh perspective.
"I know Sgt. Maj. Mclaughlin has to go, but I would love to hold onto him my entire time here as we work very well together." said Col. Nicholas LaSala Jr., director of the 175th FMSC. "The good thing is we have a great replacement. I have a great deal of confidence in Sgt. Maj. McCabe; his reputation precedes him."
McCabe, a New Jersey native, comes to Fort Shafter all the way from Germany and is happy to embrace the 175th FMSC way of life. He understands these Soldiers have been doing well under McLaughlin and wants them to continue but he will help to improve the organization.
"I live by the saying that you always improve your foxhole," McCabe said. "I do want to find what's not working and improve that and of course sustain what is already working.
Though McCabe and Mclaughlin have different views on leadership, they both understand what comes first; the well-being of the organization and the growth of the Soldiers.
"My favorite saying is that if you pass by a mistake, you set a new standard," McCabe said. "So, I always encourage on the spot corrections."
Mclaughlin said he would miss this unit and left some departing words for McCabe.
"If he goes about letting the Soldiers operate like they have been, he's going to have a heck of an easy job."