The graduation is “not just about the graduates on the field,” said Training and Doctrine Command’s senior enlisted leader Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel T. Hendrex to Family members watching online as 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment Soldiers graduated March 11.
“None of these graduates got here on their own. Their success is not only a testament to the hard work, character and commitment that they bring, but honestly, it’s a testament to you. It’s a testament to the love you gave them.”
Hendrex spoke to the three companies graduating during a tour to Fort Jackson.
He has served in every leadership position from team leader to corps command sergeant major, said Lt. Col. Michael O’Donnell, commander of the 1-34th. Hendrex is responsible for advising the commander on all aspects of Army training and education.
The Norman, Oklahoma native shared advice he received from mentors and noncommissioned officers who between them have been awarded Silver Stars, one Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor.
Among that advice was to stay motivated, volunteer for assignments and be prepared to solve hard problems.
“Don’t ever quit,” Hendrex said. “You will fail, I promise you. Get up and try again. Your reputation, the examples you set will cast long shadows.”
He added the Soldiers will “learn more from your mistakes and misses than your successes. You must maintain a warrior’s mindset in everything you do.”
Soldiers must lead from the front to be good leaders, he emphasized.
“Always, always lead from the front, it’s everything,” he said. “Focus on those things that matter: fitness, values, training and humility.”
Hendrex also reminded them to not fear bringing up their faults and to never be the crab “… don’t go sideways, don’t go backwards, only move forward. You must be honest in everything you do.”
He summed up his advice by saying, “You’ve got to embody the Army Values on a daily basis.
“Use every opportunity to build that trust with your peers, your leaders, nurture that trust; it’s everything that will serve you and your Soldiers, not only today but through your entire Army career.”