By Sgt. Maj. Derrick CrawfordSeptember 22, 2009
As the chief of training at the Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) at Fort Richardson, Sgt. 1st Class David Bradley is known as someone who's a stickler for the details.
"He is the standard for a professional Soldier," said 1st Sgt. Darrell Daniels, NCOA deputy commandant.
Bradley, of San Bernardino, Calif., has deployed to Kosovo and, most recently, Iraq. He reminds himself that being the best NCO he can be starts with doing things the right way.
"I would like to think that what makes me stand out as an NCO is my professionalism and desire to always do what's right," Bradley said. "I strive to live a life of integrity and try to encourage other Soldiers to do the same."
Bringing out the best in others is something he learned firsthand under the leadership of his former company first sergeant, Sgt. Maj. Kevin Cook. Bradley describes Cook as "very knowledgeable and professional." He said Cook demanded the best from his Soldiers.
"Sergeant Major Cook was a great mentor to me," Bradley said. "He was hard but fair. I remember him as always doing the right thing no matter what ... He brought out the best in the NCOs in his company."
Bradley joined the Army in 1990 to "do something honorable" with his life. If his Soldiers think as highly of him as he considers his best leaders, Bradley believes it would be the best return on his 18 years of service.
"I would like my Soldiers to be able to look up to me with respect and to be known as someone who motivated them to always do their best," he said.
Bradley makes sure he does his part to make it so, starting with the way he lives his life.
"The most important thing I strive for in life is to be close to God, to be the best husband and father, to be the best NCO that I can be," he said.
It's another sense of "walking the walk" that Bradley embraced from his time with Sgt. Maj. Cook. "He is a man of faith, and you always knew where he stood," he said.
Those are the type of qualities that served Bradley well as he recently went before the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club board. He did well enough to gain membership to that select group. He counts that as one of his greatest accomplishments because it's such a rigorous process.
Bradley is well aware that being an NCO carries a lot of responsibility. Another of his major milestones is the ways he thinks he has matured as a leader to better handle that responsibility.
"I have become a more balanced leader," he said. "I have learned over the years to use different techniques for different Soldiers to motivate them to excel in their careers."
It's no mystery to Daniels why Bradley is such a respected leader.
"Sgt. 1st Class Bradley lives and breathes the Army Values and is the standard bearer for the NCOA," Daniels said.
The same things that draw others to him are the very forces that drive Bradley to continue to improve himself as a person and NCO. When asked what being an NCO means to him, Bradley said "It means being someone your Soldiers can look up to and respect.
"It means enforcing standards and completing the mission. It means striving to be your best every day and encouraging your Soldiers to do the same."