Name: Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Boom
Age: 51
Current Unit: 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center
Current Position: Warhog Maneuver Team Senior Enlisted Observer/Controller
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Hohenfels, Germany
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Years of Service: 25

As a Senior Enlisted Maneuver Team Observer/Controller (OC) at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC), the only Combat Training Center located outside the continental U.S., Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Boom attributes his success to the time that his NCOs spent downrange taking care of his troops so that they could accomplish the mission.

Prior to Boom coming to JMRC to prepare soldiers for combat, he was deployed for fifteen months during Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment. Boom's Squadron had the highest number of reenlistments during his tenure with the Regiment. Additionally, the unit also maintained the highest percentage of Expert Infantry Badge recipients within the Regiment before their deployment.

While in Iraq, Boom's Squadron established a Combat Outpost from scratch in the shadows of Sadr City, one of the most dangerous sectors in Iraq. Living conditions were harsh.

For more than 12 months, the squadron frequented the desolate combat outpost, and later spearheaded the uprising in Sadr City, which began March 25, 2008. It concluded after a tough 70-day urban fight, which stopped insurgents from firing rockets into the Green Zone, and provided the security the engineers needed to build a wall of protection. This wall established checkpoints in and out of Sadr City, eliminating enemy fighter's freedom of movement.

Boom returned from Iraq in October 2008. As an experienced war veteran, Boom has much to pass on to other units training for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan at the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas.

"Whether it is Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, NCOs make the difference in taking care of Soldiers - ensuring they have the best possible living conditions, so they can refit and prepare to accomplish the next mission," said Boom. "This is a challenge when units are more or less self-supporting, and the enemy has a vote. When Soldiers see small gradual improvements in their quality of life, despite the obstacles, unit cohesion and morale goes up."

"Nothing in Iraq is easy. Religious services, internet and phone access became important. Taking care of Soldiers means providing the best quality of life possible for America's most precious assets, our Soldiers," said Boom.