By Kari Hawkins, AMCMay 26, 2017
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A repeat performance as one of Redstone Arsenal's top enlisted Soldiers is yet another leadership building block in a 31-year career that has allowed Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker to have an impact on the Army's enlisted corps.
"Mentoring the future force is very fulfilling to me," said Mansker, who took the helm as the Army Materiel Command's command sergeant major in March.
In his new assignment, Mansker is the Army's senior logistics sergeant major, serving as the personal advisor to AMC Commander Gen. Gus Perna on issues pertaining to enlisted Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians across the command. In 2012-2014, Mansker served as the first command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command at Redstone Arsenal. Prior to his AMC assignment, Mansker served as the command sergeant major for the deputy chief of staff for logistics at the Department of the Army.
"The first time I was here, my work at the Security Assistance Command was very focused on enabling foreign partners and their capabilities," Mansker said.
"This assignment at the Army Materiel Command allows me to focus more directly on the readiness of the United States Army, to improve readiness and sustain readiness. There's not a better mission than fulfilling the capability of Soldiers to fight and train."
Mansker's background as an enlisted Soldier includes deployments to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. He enlisted in 1985 as a heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic, and his service has included assignments with the 159th Aviation Regiment, Nellingen, Germany; 493rd Supply and Service Company, Fort Carson, Colorado; 1st Infantry Division, Kitzingen, Germany; 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky; 64th Corps Support Group, Fort Hood, Texas; 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, Fort Irwin, California; and 404th Army Field Support Brigade, Fort Lewis, Washington.
Mansker first realized his potential to develop young leaders while serving as a first sergeant at Fort Campbell. As he moved up in the enlisted ranks, Mansker took advantage of opportunities to lead and mentor Soldiers, a passion that he hopes to further pursue during his time at AMC. Among those opportunities, Mansker mentored battalion- and brigade-level sergeant majors at the pre-command course during three visits to the Army's Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
"First, I wanted them to understand what the Army has provided them in terms of tools and skills to lead Soldiers. I wanted them to know how to use the skills that they have learned while leading Soldiers in formation and while following the commander's intent, and how to be a truly enabling force of sergeant majors," Mansker said.
"I am interested in leadership development from an Army centric point of view for sergeants majors and non-commissioned officers. At this echelon here at AMC, I can really do more to develop high performing leaders and to manage talent based on performance."
Those new sergeants majors must also know how the Army strategic objectives are operationalized at the warfighter level.
"Our job is to advise commanders on how to best deliver capabilities and readiness to the U.S. Army," Mansker said. "Here at AMC, I advise Gen. Perna on all readiness matters as they relate to AMC and across the Army."
True to his commitment to leadership development, Mansker has initiated an NCO Professional Development program for Redstone Soldiers with the hopes of broadening Soldier knowledge, providing training for future assignments, providing insight into the expectations of their profession and offering network access to Redstone's senior leaders.
Mansker gained his first exposure to the Army enterprise, and the connection between the operational and strategic Army while serving in Iraq as the Army Field Support Brigade sergeant major.
"We worked to give Soldiers confidence in their equipment by giving them great support and incredible reach back support," he said. "One of the things Soldiers always need and more importantly require is confidence in their equipment. Our DA civilians and contractors work really hard to bring that to them."
As the sergeant major for the Army deputy chief of staff, Mansker benefitted from the perspective he gained on how the Army manages resources, how policies affect readiness and how the force structure is built.
"I'd been a command sergeant major for almost 10 years and I thought I was pretty good at my craft," he said. "But that assignment made me much more knowledgeable about how the Army operates.
Mansker's office walls are the backdrop for several plaques and awards that tell the stories of his career. But, there is one framed poster -- a long-time Army recruiting poster featuring "Uncle Sam" -- that he is especially proud of because it was given to him by Soldiers of all ranks from his assignment with the 101st. Comments like "Hard but fair," "Thank you for showing me the true way to succeed as an NCO," "Thanks for pointing me in the right direction," and "You have showed me what a great leader should be," are written by Soldiers on the poster.
"I'm a big believer in candor, in being firm, fair and consistent, and treating people well," Mansker said. "I'm a believer in access. I enjoy interacting with the workforce. I'm not very good about sitting behind a desk.
"I am everybody's sergeant major at AMC. I am focused holistically on all employees -- Soldiers, civilians and contractors. My commitment to them is to be a leader who can assist them both professionally and personally. I truly consider it an honor to be their sergeant major."