By Ignacio "Iggy" Rubalcava (USAG Baumholder)August 25, 2009
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Editor's note: In recognition of their commitment to service and willingness to make great sacrifices on behalf of the nation, the secretary of the Army established 2009 as the Year of the NCO. Highlighted below is a look at some of the noncommissioned officers in the Baumholder community.
1st Sgt. George Corbett
First Sgt. George Corbett has been in the Army for 15 years, has been a first sergeant for six months and is currently assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 4th Infantry.
He was a platoon sergeant for two years and a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson. Corbett has had various squad leader jobs and has been a team leader since 1994 when he entered the Army, he said.
"All of my time has been with Soldiers and I would like to keep it that way. My job is with the Soldiers in the company. I am here to help them and make sure that the platoon and the four subordinate NCOs who work for me have everything they need to get their jobs done and can take care of their Soldiers," said Corbett.
Corbett deals with more layers of subordinate supervisors than he has had in the past but it is still a challenge for him. "Not all of them always know the best way to handle situations they encounter, so I am mentoring them and making sure they can accomplish their mission," he said.
Throughout his military career a lot has changed for Corbett. When he was a young sergeant he viewed himself as a bit more selfish and thinking about what he could do to have the best team.
"Now as I get further up as a first sergeant I realize it is not about me. It is about the people underneath me, and if they are successful then I'm successful. I really need to worry about their success," said Corbett.
As long as the needs of his subordinates have been met then everything is OK, he added.
Being an NCO gives Corbett the opportunity to share what he has learned over the last 15 years of service. He said his age and experiences let him share his life lessons, not just military experiences but also life in general. This presents Corbett with the opportunity to help less experienced people get through difficult times in their lives.
Corbett lives in Baumholder with his wife Sarah.
"The deployments have strengthened our marriage because we work as a team," said Corbett.
"I think that all Soldiers should want to be NCOs so they can reach their full potential. I do not think a Soldier as a member of an organization like the Army can say they met their full potential and did everything they can until they are in a position where you can help other Soldiers," said Corbett.
Staff Sgt. Jarrod Koski
Koski is a sniper with 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, and has been in the Army for almost seven years.
He does not have family in Baumholder and is serving his second continued overseas tour. Koski led a squad of snipers downrange.
"The decisions you make while on the ground are your decisions. You answer to the battalion commander and the battalion sergeant major," said Koski.
Being an NCO is all about leading and training troops, Koski said. He explained it is a greater responsibility to be an NCO, but it is also a better reward.
"I have been a sniper for four years and I have been with small groups of Soldiers who want to be there. They are self-motivated because they want to be there," said Koski.
Since the Soldiers he worked with were in small groups downrange it gave his squad the opportunity to do better missions and they were able to go out with fewer people.
Koski said it is good to move around between NCOs while you are a private or specialist. "You can see different leadership styles if you move around. Sometimes it is not bad to be under a bad NCO for a little bit so you know the difference between a bad NCO and a good one," he said.
In Koski's opinion good NCOs take care of their Soldiers; they look out for them; the Soldiers are their number one concern. A good NCO tries to help his or her Soldiers with any problems they may encounter.
In comparison Koski gives examples of bad NCOs. "Bad NCOs are selfish, looking out for themselves and are not around very much," he said.
Staff Sgt. Danny Lundberg
Staff Sgt. Danny Lundberg, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, is a squad leader as well as the retention NCO for his company. He's also the unit movement officer for his platoon.
He has been deployed two times to Iraq and currently does not have family living in Germany with him.
Lundberg organizes the physical training program, trains Soldiers and has various administrative duties.
"It feels great to be an NCO. I have been an NCO for five years. It means everything to me to be a leader," Lundberg said. "I always strive to be more than what I am, and it's hard. You have to know yourself. You have to know that you have faults, and you have to try to fix your faults. There is never perfect. There is always room to improve on everything. I show the Soldiers what they can be, and I am a mentor for the junior Soldiers, leading by example, teaching them and being a leader. It is great," said Lundberg.
He explained the job never stops. It is acceptable to take a break, but some service members think once you have the rank you do not need to do as much. "Some people get their stripes and think they do not have to do as much work. But it is more. The higher the rank the more responsibilities you have," said Lundberg.
If Lundberg were to give motivational advice to Soldiers to encourage them in becoming NCOs, he would tell them to look at all the leaders. "Every leader has good traits, even those we consider bad. There is always something you can pick out of everyone. Find all the good traits and use them," he said.
When Lundberg was a private he thought he could be an NCO as a private, but in time he realized it takes experience and a lot of learning.
"From a junior Soldier till now I didn't look into the big picture. I followed my orders, tried to do my best, tried to shoot expert, get a 300 on my PT and just tried to be at the right place at the right time.
"But now it is so much more than that because I have to get my Soldiers into that mentality. I need to make sure they are in the right place and doing the right training, keeping up with things. It is a lot different, but it is so much more rewarding if you look at the aspect of being an NCO," he said.