FORT BRAGG, N.C. - First line leaders, comprised of newly promoted or newly assigned officers and noncommissioned officers from the 18th Field Artillery Brigade, attended a two-day Basic First Line Leaders Course (BFLLC) here at Fort Bragg on Feb. 9-10.
The brigade started the course in 2012 to instill in the leaders an awareness and understanding of the command and community resources they would need to aid their Soldiers."BFLLC is a critical condition setter that establishes expectations and Commander's intent for newly assigned and promoted leaders in the brigade," said Sgt. Maj. Ricky Davis, former command sergeant major of 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment. "The course provides leader-to-leader discussion and places emphasis on Army Policy and procedures to grow talent for the Army and the brigade."The course utilizes the resources available from the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE). Soldiers engaged in direct discussions with leaders at the battery, battalion and brigade levels. Topics included Standards and Discipline, Trust, Military Expertise, Stewardship and Honorable Service. Brigade Chaplain Chuck Williams oversaw the two-day training."As a chaplain, we are the religious, moral and ethical mouthpiece for the brigade and the Soldiers," said Williams. "Leadership is a moral issue to preserve good order and discipline, and to influence right thinking and appropriate conduct as well as to address inappropriate behavior.""Through the course, we train first line leaders in the principles of leadership and their place as leaders in the Army profession," said Williams. "It also gives them the tools they need as they endeavor to lead their Soldiers and the resources available at both the unit level and the installation."Since BFLLC was started in the brigade four years ago, there has been a noticeable change in the performance of the first line leaders and the impact they've had on their Soldiers."When I first arrived at the unit in July of 2014, the brigade had quite a few leadership issues, particularly at the first line level," said Williams. "The brigade commander at the time requested that I revamp the course so after I did that we had our next BFLLC in October of 2014 and we trained over 150 Soldiers. Over the following year our leadership problems and discipline issues among our Soldiers dropped noticeably. Over this past holiday season, I think we had only one serious issue, so there has been a measurable diminishing of bad conduct in regards to first line leaders."2nd Lt. Michael J. Burke, a transportation officer with the 188th Brigade Support Battalion, is a recent arrival to the unit and was one of several lieutenants to attend the two-day BFLLC."I think having the noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers learning some of the assets that the brigade has and that's available to them is important," said Burke, referencing the Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) resources in the brigade. "It gives us a better opportunity to serve our Soldiers and I think the Army Profession is something that every Soldier should know.""With the Army being such a diverse organization, making the Army Profession specifically laid out, what we all stand for as a team, regardless of what our background is, is something that helps build unit cohesion," continued Burke."As one of the most important roles I'll probably hold during my developmental years of being a platoon leader, I can foresee using a lot of the lessons learned," said Burke. "Specifically to the Army Profession, to uphold the standards that we should all be holding ourselves and each other accountable."Cpl. Courtney Lewis, a target acquisition Soldier and senior radar operator with HHB Brigade, is a newly promoted NCO and was among nearly a dozen other NCOs who attended BFLLC."It was a good class for bettering our leadership qualities because it taught us things we needed to know such as counseling, SHARP, EO, ASAP and resources we could use to help our Soldiers," said Lewis. "I liked finding our own leadership styles and qualities, and what we were good at and what we lacked in, and how we could improve ourselves as leaders.""What I got most out of BFLLC was the sessions on stewardship and Army customs and courtesies," continued Lewis. "The classes gave me a better understanding so I can better help my Soldiers."Lewis gained new understandings on her role as a leader in the brigade since attending BFLLC."The presentation on counseling was very helpful," said Lewis. "This is the first unit I've done counseling statements in and though I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of them previously, I got a lot out of what the master sergeant was telling us and how to talk to Soldiers and get them to open up to you.""It's good for everyone to learn these things that will better themselves as leaders, and everyone needs improvement," added Lewis. "It was good to hear other peoples' styles of leadership and how they handle situations."