CAMP CARROLL, South Korea -- Sometimes, a little reading can go a long way, especially when it comes to developing new skills.
For the Soldiers at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea, a quarterly reading component of the center’s Leader Self Development Program is helping to promote critical thinking skills and create professional dialogue throughout the organization’s ranks in support of the medical logistics enterprise on the Korean Peninsula.
Capt. Kirk Proctor, commander of the 563rd Medical Logistics Company, said the program is open to all Soldiers at USAMMC-K, a direct reporting unit to Army Medical Logistics Command.
All participants are required to read one article per month over each quarter. The articles come from a variety of publications, ranging from military-affiliated press to professional management magazines.
Non-commissioned officers also are assigned selected readings from Army training doctrine, while officers are tasked with reading articles, doctrine and a book each quarter.
Topics of the books range from organization transformation, varying styles in leadership, historical events, geopolitical and analyses and memoirs from both past and present leaders.
“I have personally seen professional growth and a heightened sense of purpose since the start of the reading program,” Proctor said. “Soldiers are not only taking in development from the top down, but also laterally as they discuss key themes throughout the reads. This has truly been a gratifying experience to watch all of this unfold.”
Selections for the first quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year touched on topics, such as time management, teamwork and shared purpose. The book for officers, “Team of Teams” by retired Gen. Stanley McCrystal, highlighted the organizational transformation his unit underwent during the fight against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Participants in the program called it rewarding and worthwhile in their professional development.
“This is the first time I have seen a company command team encouraging a quarterly reading program,” said Sgt. Johnny Carrillodavila. “Without a doubt, I can say this program improves the organization and positively impacts the Soldiers.”
Pfc. John Montgomery said the readings have shown him the importance of developing leadership skills and “thinking two ranks ahead” of himself.
"My plan going forward after reading the articles is to learn all I can at the unit I’m currently at,” he said, “not only to be an effective leader, but also a stronger Soldier (and to) motivate Soldiers physically, mentally and spiritually."
USAMMC-K Commander Lt. Col. Marcus D. Perkins said the program was inspired by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who stressed the importance of reading and thoughtful conversation within the Marine Corps ranks.
“The spirit of this program is a tactical approach to get after the [Army Chief of Staff’s] top priority: Our people,” Perkins said. “This starts by getting to know them … through conversation. This program allows leaders within the organization to have that conversation.”