FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment hosted a professional development event Friday at Nutter Field House that gave more than 40 of the Army’s newest officers the opportunity to get advice from senior leaders here on developing character.
The theme of the event was defining professionalism and ethical leadership, and according to Lt. Col. Matthew Mason, 3rd Bn., 10th In. Reg. commander, the forum filled a need and can hopefully serve as a model as the Army continues to seek ways to build quality leaders through key leader engagements and mentorship.
“It was a great success,” he said. “The discussions were thought provoking and the panel members were very insightful; they gave great guidance to the questions asked.”
The four-hour morning event began with a conversation on ethical leadership led by Chaplain (Maj.) Jason Southard, U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear regimental chaplain.
“He drove home the importance of the military oath of enlistment and the commissioned officer and Army civilian oath of office,” Mason said. “He tied the importance of the oath we take to the way we are expected to conduct ourselves professionally and ethically, and most importantly, the importance of making the hard and right decisions over the easy and wrong decisions.”
The invited panelists included leaders at nearly every echelon here, from Brig. Gen. Daryl Hood, CBRN School commandant, and Col. Adam Hilburgh, 3rd Chemical Brigade commander, down to some of the newest company commanders on the installation.
“There are things our newest company commanders experienced as platoon leaders that can be imparted to our newest platoon leaders coming in,” Mason said.
While professional development is not uncommon in the Army, 2nd Lt. DaVontae Hair, a platoon leader assigned to Company G, 3rd Bn., 10th In. Reg., said this event stood out.
“From the guest speakers to the panel speakers, it gave me a good mix of perspectives,” he said. “It also went into depth on our responsibility to uphold integrity in our organizations and trust among our profession.”
For 1st Lt. De Shawn Walker, event coordinator and executive officer for Co. B, 3rd Bn., 10th In. Reg., the panelists provided a wealth of advice.
“I learned a lot about commander’s intent, disciplined initiative, mutual trust, proper planning, family and work-life balance, building and maintaining trust, relationships and knowing your formation, keeping your Soldiers, your leaders, and your family informed and involved, and being engaged at all levels despite the echelon you operate at,” he said.
The event Friday was the first of six senior leader forums planned by the battalion to take place this year — three for lieutenants and three for drill sergeants.
Mason said it’s vital for senior leaders to provide character development to those who directly influence the trainee population on a daily basis.
“They’re at the point of need — the point of impact — so, demonstrating good leadership must start with them,” Mason said. “If it’s not being done at the lowest level, that’s when we’re going to have issues.”
It can be overwhelming to be put in a leadership position as a young lieutenant, Mason said, and events like this are meant to help.
“They want to be moving on the right glide path to be successful, not only for themselves, but to have a successful organization,” he said. “They want to be seen as a professional leader. To do that, you have to first know what being a professional is.”