Brigadier general talks 3rd BCT, 10th Mtn Div, training, deployment

By CourtesyJune 5, 2024

Brigadier general talks 3rd BCT, 10th Mtn Div, training, deployment
Brig. Gen. Kendall J. Clarke, 10th Mountain Division, Light Infantry, deputy commander, operations. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

By Gabe Walker

Public Affairs

FORT JOHNSON, La. — Being a general means you have a past filled with experiences, training and commands meant to hone the knowledge and skills necessary to get the job done, no matter the mission.

Brig. Gen. Kendall J. Clarke, 10th Mountain Division, Light Infantry, deputy commander, operations, is no stranger to the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Johnson and his latest mission is a bit easier to master thanks to those connections.

From 2003–2006, Clarke served with Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center Fort Polk, as platoon senior tactics trainer, task force senior logistics trainer and operations group logistics officer. He returned to Fort Polk in 2017 to serve as deputy commander, Operations Group, followed by commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, from July 2018 to June 2020.

As the current 10th Mountain Division (LI), Fort Drum, New York, deputy commander, Operations, Clarke returned to Fort Johnson to assist with the 3rd BCT, 10th Mtn Div deployment in support of Operation Resolve.

Clarke made time to answer a few questions about the deployment with the Fort Johnson Public Affairs Office.

Q: What is your role in the deployment?

A: Clarke

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mtn Div is deploying to the Eastern Front with our NATO partners and allies, deterring further Russian (advances) and reinforcing the NATO flank in eastern Europe. I’m here to assist with the brigade’s deployment by checking on Soldier readiness and solving any issues that pop up to facilitate a rapid and smooth deployment. That includes Soldier welfare, equipment movement to port and ensuring the rear detachment is set up and ready to take care of Soldiers and Family members. This brigade is one of the most deployed brigades in the Army since its inception in 2004-2005.

Every one of this brigade’s commanders, to include myself, has deployed the Brigade during his tenure. Being a former 3-10 brigade commander and having established relationships with the installation and surrounding communities allows me to solve problems and ensure a smooth, speedy deployment. Established relationships are a force multiplier in our Army.

Q: What is your role as deputy division commander?

A: Clarke

I would say 90% of my role as deputy division commander is getting things done for Soldiers. I create an atmosphere for brigade commanders and colonels to win and succeed. I’m not a part of our brigade commander’s chain of command. I extend and ensure execution of Maj. Gen. Gregory K. Anderson’s, commanding general, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Fort Drum, New York, command intent. I have the autonomy to go where I am needed to help. Being a former brigade commander helps me know where to go and how to help brigade commanders succeed.

Q: What’s a typical day’s battle rhythm for you?

A: Clarke

Every day there are briefings and meetings. My focus is training management and training readiness. I discovered our leaders are good and actually overproduce in these areas — so much so that Soldiers are not trained to do “white space training” — which is the time that exists between a scheduled training event and activities that allows leaders the opportunity to conduct additional training or address specific tasks that are not covered in regular training schedules.

I help leaders see how to use this time to conduct training that is needed but not formally added to the training schedule. It’s the time part of training management and training readiness that pays off for the individual Soldier and small teams.

I find time each day to talk with junior leaders and Soldiers. I visit training areas and talk to unit leadership, but I also want to know how our junior Soldiers are doing, so I sit and talk with privates and corporals to find out things like where they are from, their likes, dislikes and hobbies, what young Soldiers think of the Army and their future plans and goals.

I take this information back to the division commander, command sergeants major and other leaders. We use the information to determine how to make training and Soldier’s quality of life better.

Q: How has your perspective changed now that you are a brigadier general and deputy division commander?

A: Clarke

The principles are the same, but the philosophy is different. The Army is about people. It’s critical to nurture and provide a positive environment. Generals lead more through influence — how to make things better. I find out where friction points are and build good ideas and relationships that collapse friction points. I use a tool that I call “Handcon.” That means going out to see people in their environment. I try to build relationships by shaking hands and talking to people, be it Soldiers, peers, subordinates and enterprise folks, as well as local communities and the governments surrounding us.

I ask people about themselves and tell them the Army story. Find out what works well and doesn’t work and see how we can expand on the good and eliminate the bad. It’s a lot easier if I meet folks at their workplace and find out what their personal and professional likes and dislikes are.

Listening and building relationships is key to taking care of Soldiers and accomplishing our mission.

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division is one of the most deployed units in the U.S. Army. The Brigade has strong, capable, highly trained leaders and Soldiers we can deploy and who can fight across the globe anywhere and anytime. I know the brigade is going to perform well and safely return to Fort Johnson.