ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The current operations sergeant major for the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards formation was selected for the command sergeant major program.
Sgt. Maj. Jessica Cho from 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command will serve as the senior enlisted leader for the Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii, the Pacific’s premier training center.
The career Chemical Corps sergeant major reported to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered 20th CBRNE Command on August 1, 2021. The multifunctional command is home to 75 percent of the U.S. Army's active-duty CBRN specialists and explosive ordnance disposal technicians, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five weapons of mass destruction coordination teams and three nuclear disablement teams.
From North Carolina to South Korea, Cho has served in a variety of leadership positions with U.S. Army units around the world.
During her 18 years in the Army, Cho has been a decontamination team member, squad leader, sample team leader, drill sergeant, senior drill sergeant, operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge, cultural support team noncommissioned officer-in-charge, operations sergeant, platoon sergeant and first sergeant. Cho also earned a Master of Science Degree in Sports and Health Sciences from American Military University.
A seasoned combat veteran, Cho deployed for Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn with the Bravo Company from the 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) and served on a Cultural Support Team in Afghanistan with the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Earlier in her career as a newly selected staff sergeant, her sergeant first class pulled her aside and told her it was time for her to develop her leadership philosophy.
The sergeant first class described to Cho that a leadership philosophy is “what you value, unshaken, your beliefs as a leader, how you live your profession and the way you can influence others."
The process of producing her leadership philosophy led Cho to consider how she would use her new position to accomplish her mission and develop her Soldiers.
“One must never forget that a unit's success depends on the morale of subordinate leaders and Soldiers, as much as it depends on the leader's ability to lead from the front,” Cho wrote in her leadership philosophy. “Beyond ensuring shared understanding, leaders work diligently to establish climate within their organization. Being present is to be fair and impartial, making decisions and being the voice of those unheard.”
Originally from San Francisco, Cho focused on performing at the highest level possible and improving her abilities to influence success across the chain of command.
“Leadership is an art, so let's become artists,” Cho wrote. “As painters, each brushstroke may signify a new perspective on things. As sculptors, each carving may be the shaping of a new trait. As NCOs, we develop organizations, imbuing respective formations with intellectual curiosity through relevant training and providing counsel in support of our officers."
Cho’s leadership canvas will soon expand to the largest installation in the State of Hawaii, the 108,863-acre joint and combined arms training facility on the Big Island of Hawaii that provides logistics, public works, airfield support and environmental and cultural stewardship in support of U.S. Army Pacific.
She will report to the Pohakuloa Training Area in December 2022.
“Being selected on this list is a great honor and very humbling,” said Cho. “I have wished for every rank in my career in order to try and make a difference at each location I served at. I think most if not all will agree that aspiring to be a command sergeant major is not about some delusions of grandeur but about inspiring and influencing others.”