By By Jen Rodriguez and Sgt. Maj. Patricia Quillen (Brooke Army Medical Center)February 7, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Eleven sergeant majors learned to be effective members of a joint team by fulfilling one of BAMC's balance scorecard strategic objectives to improved training and development, during a teambuilding off-site staff ride on Jan. 16.
The Brooke Army Medical Center and Great Plains Regional Medical Command senior non-commissioned officers had an off-site tour of the Texas Hill Country and the National Historical Park in Johnson City to learn more about one another outside of the office.
"Not only did it (the trip) educate us on our 36th president, but also allowed us to learn a little bit about each other outside the uniform," said Sgt. Maj. Brian Whelan of GPRMC Operations.
The staff ride visit is the first of several events to take place quarterly amongst the senior noncommissioned officers.
Using the backdrop of the Johnson City and Stonewall Ranch, the NCOs made use of the trip as an educational tool.
"Our trip to Johnson City and Stonewall Ranch was informative and an interactive event where our senior NCOs learned about different challenges and the leadership perspective of one of our nation's leaders and how his decisions affect us today," BAMC and GPRMC Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Simmons said.
The trip was developed for the senior NCOs to gain a better understanding about the 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson, his leadership role and the effectiveness of his work for today's leaders.
"As an Air Force member, I found this to be a teambuilding and strategic planning event that was refreshing and very enlightening," said Chief Master Sgt. Marie Potts, senior enlisted manager, San Antonio Medical Base Realignment and Closure Integration Office. "The day was informative as well as provided an opportunity to become better acquainted with my fellow E-9s. It was a great day!"
The day began with a risk assessment of the temperature: 36 degrees with a forecast of up to 57 degrees and a slight chance of rain. Inclement weather however didn't stop nor discourage the leaders from trekking along the trails around LBJ's family settlement for nearly a mile. Trail views included the original log cabin, early farm tools, a chuck wagon, horses and longhorns grazing in the pasture.
The group also visited a modern-day exhibit center, which focused on the family cattle business.
The NCOs were met at the front porch of LBJ's home by a park ranger, who answered many of their questions concerning the home.
While walking through the house, the group took a look back in time to small town and rural America of the 1920s.
"The house had the appearance, complete with materials and furnishings of that time," said Sgt. Maj. Patricia Quillen of the Warrior Transition Battalion. "The kitchen was a reminder to us that Lyndon Johnson did not come from a rich or aristocratic background, but from a hardworking and humble family."
LBJ lived in the three-bedroom home with his parents, three sisters and brother from the age of five, until adulthood, she said.
The tour ended with a riding tour, 14 miles west of Stonewall, Texas, of the Johnson Family Ranch. Part of the tour included the Texas White House, a ranger-guided tour of the President's office, and his extensive car collection.
BAMC Troop Command, Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell Richardson Jr. said the staff ride was the most interesting one that he's been on in almost 30 years of service. "The most exciting part was seeing LBJ's childhood home, and the Texas White House. Everyone should go visit Johnson City. It's cost effective and full of history."
Richardson was so impressed with the trip that he told his commander, BAMC Troop Command Commander, Col. David Baker about it, and he wants to take his grandkids. According to Richardson, Baker is interested in gathering the commanders and first sergeants for a similar trip.
The next sergeant majors' staff ride will be to Fredericksburg for a living history reenactment March 16.