Years of competitive swimming and summers working on a farm led to a strong work ethic, which was key to Command Sergeant Major Jon R. Stanley’s military career. After 30 years in the military, Stanley is retiring from the Army and his role as command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM.
Stanley was the first command sergeant major of DEVCOM, which was the Research, Development and Engineering Command, before the transition into the Army Futures Command on February 3, 2019. Prior to that, Stanley was the RDECOM command sergeant major since joining the command in September 2018.
“During the last two and a half years, one of the transformational things that happed was the transition from RDECOM to CCDC and from AMC to AFC. The command did a great job in the transition by communicating with our employees and putting their minds at ease, as well as re-branding our organization and getting the word out that RDECOM is now CCDC,” Stanley said.
As the senior Noncommissioned Officer in DEVCOM, Stanley oversaw the NCOs who are located across the command. Many of the NCOs work side-by-side with scientists and engineers, sharing their experiences and challenges with technology and equipment in the field. Stanley frequently traveled to DEVCOM’s centers and labs, ensuring employees have the tools they need to perform their jobs.
“There is a proud tradition of military service in my family with numerous relatives who served in the military, primarily the Navy. For instance, my grandfather was in the Navy for 20 years during WW II and Korea,” Stanley said.
Once Stanley decided he was interested in the military, he tried to meet with a Marine Corps recruiter twice but it didn’t pan out, so he spoke to an Army recruiter who was nearby. Stanley signed a contract with the Army to be a combat engineer, and he followed this path for the next 30 years.
Operation Desert Storm began soon after Stanley joined the Army in 1990. After the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Stanley’s deployments were not only longer, but also more frequent, including two combat deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and four combat deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Stanley received numerous awards during his military career, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Early in Stanley’s military career, he attended numerous military schools, including Sapper Leader Course, Air Assault School and Mountain Warfare School (winter and summer).
“The Mountain Warfare School was run by the Vermont National Guard, and almost all of the instructors were very experienced rock climbers that had climbed Mt. Everest, often numerous times. They were some of the best climbers in the U.S.,” Stanley said.
Prior to his current role at DEVCOM, Stanley was the command sergeant major at the Maneuver Support Center for Excellence at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.
“I wasn’t really familiar with RDECOM before I joined the command, so I did some research. The command has done great things to help fight the global war on terrorism and for Army modernization. I think it’s really important to get the word out about DEVCOM’s team of talented scientists, engineers and technicians who focus on technology to better serve the Warfighter now and in the future,” Stanley said.
During his tenure at DEVCOM, Stanley focused on safety, personnel and other areas to help the command run smooth. The coronavirus pandemic was one of the bigger challenges. He worked closely with the command staff to design and implement plans for employees to safely return to work. When the pandemic hit, the command quickly moved to virtual platforms to continue working, and several centers and ARL responded quickly to an urgent need from front-line organizations for personal protective equipment. Many DEVCOM employees also supported Operation Warp Speed, which was started to accelerate development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“We didn’t miss a beat when the pandemic hit. Even though travel was limited, our employees did an outstanding job adapting to remote work, proving it may be an option in the future,” Stanley said.
Stanley notes that the coronavirus pandemic was a factor in DEVCOM’s Future of Work Concept initiative, which will embrace an innovative and flexible climate for employees. Some of the key tenants include: hiring talent regardless of duty location and empowering employees to work where and when they are most productive, within the parameters of their teams and organizations overall.
Some of Stanley’s proudest memories were when his Soldiers continued their careers and were successful.
“In the Army, I met some of the smartest people I will ever meet. The Army is a cross-section of society. Everywhere you go in the Army there are people from all different backgrounds and experiences, and you have the honor of serving alongside them, which is something that I will always be grateful for,” Stanley said.
A retirement ceremony for CSM Stanley was held March 26 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.