FORT BLISS, Texas--Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell visited the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, Nov. 21 and spoke to the Sergeants Major Course students of class 70 one last time before his upcoming retirement.

Troxell began his talk by noting the importance of the relationships and particularly those with our allies and partners.

"I spend a lot of time with our allies and partners," he said. "Together we develop a global network of senior enlisted leaders that not only communicate, but share best practices and lessons learned and get after noncommissioned officer and petty officer development."

Troxell informed the students his job is to know the pulse of the joint force for the chairman and the secretary of defense.

"Your goal as a senior enlisted leader will never change whether you are working for a major, a colonel, a general or where I am now. It is all about people," he said.

He enlightened the students on their role after they graduate.

"You will need to provide the 'why' to the troops," he said. "You do that by presence and developing the enlisted leaders' two levels below you."

He reminded the students that the commanders provide authority, they provide the vision but senior enlisted leaders provide the why.

"How do you get the 'why,'" he said. "By presence and availability."

He let the students know in order to move forward the force needs to focus on having a lethal, ready and fit force that can deploy, fight and win.

"We fix deployability problems, we fix fitness problems," he said. "As an SEL, you have to demand your troops to strive for excellence- physically, emotionally, mentally, technically and tactically because that is what we need to have for a ready force."

Troxell advised the future senior leaders to be a part of every solution to every problem within their organizations. To help better their troops, and show them what right looks like.

"Provide an example troops can look up to," Troxell said. "Get after the physical, mental, emotional, technical and tactical readiness."

Before he completed his brief he reflected on his more than 37 years of service.

"I will miss being a part of this culture, but I will walk away with pride," he said. "I can walk away knowing three things. One, we are a nation with a military of the United States that defends our homeland and our way of life anytime, anywhere and under any circumstances. Two, we can meet our allies and partners commitment, we can be there for our allies and partners no matter where they are."

Three, he added, we have competitive war fighting advantages in every domain- especially our human domain.

"No other nation in the world trains, educates, trusts and empowers NCOs like the U.S. military," he said. "In order to get after the competitive advantages, we need to invest in our enlisted leaders, mid-level leaders, and managers that will apply adaptive thinking processes that will either solve the problem, fix the situation, or kill the enemy."

Troxell's imparting words of advice to the students -- stay on course, continue to do what you are doing at the premier enlisted education institution and strive for excellence. He told them to lead the men and women they will be charge of, the way they would want to be led and continue to get after readiness.

To commemorate Troxell's time in service and his time with the NCOLCoE he was presented a class coin from the students and signed an entrenching tool as a part of the legacy gift from class 70.

Troxell was also presented a special memento from Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers the commandant of the NCOLCoE.

"I have always looked at Command Sgt. Maj. Troxell as a mentor, leader and role model," Sellers said. "He is a consummate professional who has left an impact on my life since I was a private in Fort Bragg."

Sellers presented Troxell a pair of sergeant major and command sergeant major chevrons similar to those displayed on the NCOLCoE grounds with an entrenching tool engraved on the back with the words "surrender or die by any means necessary."

"On the behalf of a grateful NCO Corps, we thank you for a job well done during your tour at the top!" Sellers said. "Your caring and concerned leadership remains the hallmark of your service to our great nation and all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel greatly benefited from your inspired leadership!"

Troxell is a graduate of the SMC class 51, and celebrates 20 years as a sergeant major in January 2020.