RCSM has ‘best job ever’ leading 55,000 Signaleers - Honoring Black Americans who serve

By Laura LeveringFebruary 23, 2024

MorningMix
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett represents Fort Eisenhower on a local news segment that aired live Feb. 7. The senior leader touched on several Army initiatives and spoke about the importance of observing Black History Month. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
25H
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett, U.S. Army Signal School, congratulates the first group of network communication systems specialist (25H) graduates following a graduation ceremony on March 8, 2023. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
UNO
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett throws down a card during a round of UNO with Soldiers hanging out at Fort Eisenhower’s BOSS Headquarters building on Dec. 24, 2023. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
Push
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett joins several junior Soldiers in a round of push-ups following a chip challenge in which the intended recipient dropped the chip during Holiday Block Leave festivities on Dec. 24, 2023. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
Town Hall
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett speaks to an audience of U.S. Army Signal School staff during the school’s quarterly town hall held July 28, 2023. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett, U.S. Army Signal School
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett, U.S. Army Signal School (Photo Credit: US ARMY) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT EISENHOWER, Ga. – From the Battle of Concord, Massachusetts, in April of 1775, to present-day conflicts and peace-keeping missions around the world, African American Soldiers have been honorably serving our nation for more than 248 years. February is Black History Month – a time to honor Black Americans who have made significant contributions in the Armed Forces. And while there are countless men and women who fall into that category, few, if any, have a presence like one senior NCO on Fort Eisenhower.

Well-known for his captivating disposition and infamous “chip challenge,” Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett, Signal Corps’ 25th regimental command sergeant major, has been serving his country and its people for nearly 30 years. Growing up, the Spring Lake, North Carolina, native always felt like he was meant to be a Soldier.

“My father served; he is an amazing man, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Barrett said. “He was a true role model … I wanted to do something fulfilling and for the greater good.”

But he never thought he would go on to serve this long nor climb the ranks as he has. Barrett said he enlisted knowing he “wanted to do something that involved electronics.” After his recruiter explained the importance of being a communicator, Barrett said he “leaned in that direction” and enlisted as signal support specialist (25U). Initially, he did not plan on making the Army a long-term career. That changed by the end of his first term thanks to several positive role models who helped solidify his decision.

Fast forward multiple deployments, numerous duty stations, units, positions, and awards, this top-ranking NCO said his current role of overseeing 55,000 signal Soldiers, or Signaleers, while serving as the senior enlisted advisor to chief of signal, is “the best job ever.”

“I’ve had some good jobs, and I would never change any of them, but this is absolutely the one that takes the cake,” Barrett said.

No two days are ever the same, and Barrett thrives on being in the presence of other Soldiers – particularly junior Soldiers, as evident by anyone who has seen or participated in his chip challenge, which has been coined as a way for recognizing excellence and expressing gratitude to deserving individuals on behalf of the Signal Regiment. Sgt. Maj. Christopher Stadler, Operations Division, U.S. Army Signal School, usually accompanies him on those challenges. Having known Barrett for 10 years, four of which Stadler served as Barrett’s first sergeant, Stadler described Barrett as “the ultimate motivator, ruthless standard bearer, empathetic, mentally tough” person who “can lead and identify with any race, religion, and/or gender.”

“I have had many great leaders in my day, but none have ever attended my son’s athletic events/birthdays/holidays or known exactly what to say to either correct, motivate, or cheer me up until Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Barrett came along,” Stadler said.

As a senior leader himself with 19 years in service (and counting), Stadler said Barrett has had a tremendous impact on his career and personal development, emphasizing he would not be where he is today if not for Barrett.

“I have taken more tools from him and put them in my kitbag than I would like to admit,” Stadler said. “The biggest influence is how comfortable I am in difficult situations – got it straight from him. The other is passion. There is nothing more fun than helping a Soldier solve a problem just as my mentor (Barrett) does all day, every day.”

For Barrett, there is nothing he would rather be doing. At a point in his career where he could retire, Barrett has no immediate plans to hang up the uniform and make the transition to becoming a civilian. Instead, he wants to continue serving “wherever the Army needs” him.

“Soldiers motivate me,” Barrett said. “The team … thinking about how awesome individuals are that I work with on a daily basis … I enjoy being able to help people and help shape the future of our young men and women in the Signal Corps, being able to provide input, positively influence others, and make change.”

As much as Barrett lives and breathes the Army, this seasoned Soldier fully understands that every day isn’t going to be a “walk in the park.”

His advice to others who are struggling is this:

“Always give 100 percent. Be in the right place, right time, and right uniform. Be true to yourself and find a mentor who will provide you with good sound advice. The Army is an amazing organization to be a part of, and although you may not enjoy your current experience, things can easily change for the better at your next duty station.”

The RCSM on Black History Month

Serving in the military has afforded Barrett opportunities he might have had otherwise, to include traveling the world, being exposed to other cultures, and learning about significant contributions from others who have served. For these reasons (among others), Barrett feels strongly that the Army is one of the greatest organizations in the world.

“Everyone brings different life experiences to the formation,” he said. “What makes our Army so great is that we welcome everyone and empower them to be all they can be.”

As for why it is important to highlight African American Soldiers’ contributions, both past and present, Barrett said, “It is extremely important to reemphasize that we have always been here and will continue to serve our country beside our fellow brothers and sisters in arms.”

Bio Snapshot

Command Sgt. Maj. Linwood Barrett entered the Army in January of 1996. His military education includes every level of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. He is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Course, Communications Security Custodian Course, Combatives Level 1 and 2, Drill Sergeant School, Drill Sergeant Leaders Course, Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Air Assault School, and Master Resiliency Training. Barrett is a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and a recipient of the Bronze Order of Mercury. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (09-10) and Operation Enduring Freedom (11-12).

Barrett holds an associate degree in general studies from Northern Virginia Community College and a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Excelsior University.