CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – The unbreakable spirit of strong and effective leadership defines the role of an Army leader, is a vital aspect of the Army’s success and provides for Soldiers to reach their warfighting potential in an ever-changing world.
For Sgt. Brennan M. Wamble, a native of Chicago and an air traffic control operator assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, United States Army Garrison – Humphreys, the value of his leadership was on full display after he won the HHC Soldier of the Quarter, HHC NCO of the Quarter and ultimately the U.S. Army Installation Management Command – Pacific NCO of the Year competitions in 2020.
“I define leadership as being brave enough to want more, but also being disciplined enough to work for it,” said Wamble, reflecting upon the pressure that Army leaders often handle. “I think everyone should strive to be that way. You have to be brave enough to even want to do these competitions, because they are hard, but it is fulfilling when you’re disciplined enough to work for it.”
The IMCOM-P NCO of the Year competition determines the top NCO from across the command’s garrisons in the Pacific region, including installations across South Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Kwajalein and Alaska, through a rigorous competition designed to stress the competitors’ Soldier skills and Army knowledge. This year’s competition was held in a much more virtual format than previous years’ events, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the Army’s continued commitment to the health and safety of its Soldiers and communities.
“Because the competition was a lot more virtual, people had a lot more time and opportunity to compete,” said Wamble. “We got everything way ahead of time. I tried to make myself look extremely good on paper by showing all of my awards and accomplishments while scoring a 300 on the Army Physical Fitness Test. I strove to be the best at each category that the competition offered.”
Finding a sense of inspiration and drive in his mental toughness and resiliency, Wamble applied an important personal mantra which guides him to success as a leader.
“I tell myself ‘a strong body will carry a weak mind nowhere, but a strong mind will carry a weak body anywhere,’” said Wamble, emphasizing the importance of this belief. “You have to visualize winning and accomplishing something first, then later on you will get it with work.”
Wamble uses the experiences and success at these competitions as a means to augment and enhance his leadership qualities, demonstrating to his Soldiers the value of dedication and determination.
“Last year I was a little disappointed knowing that I didn’t even come close, so this year it was rewarding to win and show my Soldiers that it is possible,” said Wamble, noting his previous unsuccessful competition performance. “A lot of people would give up, saying ‘I didn’t win last time, so why would I do it this time?’ But, I tried again and made it.”
Embracing his position as a role model, Wamble uses a direct form of leadership that demonstrates to his Soldiers the importance of the tactical and technical skills, which are essential to success as a Soldier.
“I try to lead by example, my Soldiers see my work every day and I make sure that I am trying my best because I’m a role model to them,” said Wamble. “They look at me and say ‘Sgt. Wamble works hard, if he does that then why shouldn’t I do that?’”
Mentoring junior Soldiers is an important part of being an NCO, ensuring that Soldiers maintain a strong sense of readiness, lethality and proficiency at their tasks and specialties.
“The most important part of mentoring another Soldier for me, is being able to do the job right and being able to motivate,” said Wamble. “When it comes to balancing Soldier training with ATC training, we have an intense training program. As a leader, I can impact my Soldiers’ ability to be powerful and lethal by leading by example.”
Wamble reflected upon his time in Chicago, where he attended the Providence St. Mel School in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, noting the vast experiences that the Army has provided him since he enlisted out of school.
“Being from Chicago, a lot of my friends didn’t go to college or join the Army, they’re still doing the same thing,” said Wamble. “It’s a big personal goal of mine to show my friends that there’s a way out. Now I’m in South Korea and I never would have thought that would happen, coming from Chicago.”
Finding inspiration in his previous leadership, Wamble credits the importance of Makayla Hopkins, now a civilian who was previously his NCO and supervisor, and his former Drill Sgt. Daquan Jackson, who provided inspiration during training.
“Sgt. Hopkins was a big influence on me, she was a leader who inspired me a lot,” said Wamble. “My drill sergeants made me want to be better, and even though they were harsh, the Army was made easier for me.”
Using his experiences winning the IMCOM-P NCO of the Year competition, the Soldier of the Quarter and NCO of the Quarter competitions, as well as his experiences in developing and applying his leadership style to enhance the skills of his Soldiers, Wamble offered insightful words of advice to Soldiers and leaders across the Army.
“Maintain what you’re doing but don’t stay content with what you have,” said Wamble. “Even though I won IMCOM-P NCO of the Year, I still want to get better.”