Three different military occupational specialties, multiple moves within 17 years, and he wouldn’t change a thing. If there’s one thing Sgt. 1st Class Nathaniel Williamsgriffin has learned about the Army, it's that there is something in it for everyone.
Williamsgriffin, a career counselor for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, joined the Army as a combat engineer in 2006, but it’s in his current position as a career counselor where he feels like he’s making the biggest impact.
“If you’re taking care of Soldiers, you’re taking care of the Army, and if you’re taking care of the Army, you’re taking care of Soldiers,” said Williamsgriffin.
Williamsgriffin joined the Army at the age of 18, wanting to travel and experience more of life outside of his hometown of McGill, Nev. He enjoyed his job as a combat engineer, but as time went on, he wanted to build towards his future. Wanting to work within the world of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, he decided to change his military occupational specialty to cargo specialist.
“I thought 88H [cargo specialist] was tied into customs, because, at the time, I wanted to go into customs when I got out.”
He soon realized it was not the job he was really looking for and, after some time, began the process of getting out of the Army. His career counselor suggested that he try to become a career counselor to help other Soldiers who may be in his situation – he accepted. In late 2016, Williamsgriffin successfully transitioned to his current job. As a career counselor, Williamsgriffin has had the opportunity to interact with a multitude of personnel across multiple units. His first duty station as a career counselor was with the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. It was here that he originally met his current supervisor, Master Sgt. Jason Clark, 8th TSC, Command Career Counselor.
“He [Williamsgriffin] ensures that he is present in the organization. I believe what differentiates him from other career counselors is his passion for the Soldiers and placing their needs above his own,” said Clark.
Williamsgriffin’s personality is nothing, if not positive. Throughout multiple formations his charismatic personality has allowed him to be seen as a trusted voice within those formations. The trust he builds with Soldiers is something that stays with him and it’s something that stays with the Soldier.
“I’ve talked to and have gotten phone calls from people from yesteryear, asking questions or coming to me, because they trust what I have to say,” added Williamsgriffin.
As he continued his journey as a career counselor, his peers noticed his drive and potential for the role. He shows dedication to the service but shows more dedication to the Soldiers he works with. Despite his critical role, he shows that he is no different than those he serves with. It's as if Williamsgriffin had finally found his calling within the Army. From an overwhelmingly positive attitude to his outgoing and approachable personality, many find him good for the unit's morale.
“His [Williamsgriffin] attitude is always positive at work, and it is contagious to the formation,” said Clark. “He is a very passionate career counselor who enjoys talking and getting to know his team. I would have him on any team I am a part of in the Army.”
All throughout his time as a career counselor, Williamsgriffin has met a lot of Soldiers, and some still contact him to this day. His overwhelmingly positive demeanor and trusting personality allows him to be more effective while assisting Soldiers through their careers as one recent re-enlistee remembers.
“The process was easy, he knew his stuff, and he seemed to look out for what I wanted. I specifically wanted to have one more reenlistment before I decided to go indefinite, and he was able to accommodate that.” said Staff Sgt. Ross Fandey, 8th TSC, protocol noncomissioned officer in charge.
However, just like every job, there are ups and downs to being a career counselor.
“Soldiers run into hiccups every now and again. So, trying your best to keep them on track when life happens is an important and fulfilling part of my job,” said Williamsgriffin who believes the Army is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean they do not deserve respect for serving.
“So, I’ll tell Soldiers flat out, ‘I don’t care whether you stay in the Army or get out. As long as you’re taken care of.’”
Williamsgriffin realizes that retaining Soldiers for the Army is important, but the Soldier is more important than the job itself. Building that trust with Soldiers thinking about re-enlisting and not just looking at them as numbers has fostered a positive retention program in the 8th TSC.