By ANDRICKA THOMAS, CECOM LCMC (Forward)October 21, 2009
Since 1775, noncommissioned officers have exhibited courage, honor and the willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission.
Master Sgt. Walter M. Farrell, senior enlisted advisor to the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command (Forward), continues to add to the NCO legacy through his dedication to accomplishing the mission.
Presently, he and his team are pioneers as they prepare for the CECOM LCMC mission to relocate to Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Farrell said he always knew he wanted to serve as he grew up all over the world as a military child. His father served in the U.S. Air Force, but Farrell saw a different destiny, the Army NCO Corps.
"I wanted to join the Army because people used to joke with me and say I couldn't handle Army life," said Farrell with a smile. "Well, I joined and seventeen years later I'm still going strong, and loving every minute of it."
Of his many duty stations, Farrell's most memorable assignment was his time spent in Italy and Germany.
"I had a great time overseas. I encourage all Soldiers, if they have the opportunity, to take advantage of an overseas tour," Farrell said. He said that traveling expanded his outlook on life, people and other cultures.
Farrell is no stranger to deployments as he has served in two conflicts and peacekeeping missions to include the Balkans, Sarajevo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I never thought to myself 'why,' when I found out I was going to be deployed," Farrell said. "This is what I signed up for."
Farrell lives his commitment to duty everyday by accomplishing missions before him and serving as a role model to others.
"NCOs should be role models, period," Farrell said.
He recalled a particular drill sergeant who, in basic training, remained on his case.
"I used to see this guy and purposely go the other way," laughed Farrell, "but he always found me. He made sure I was squared away at all times, and that's why I believe NCOs are role models. We are here for the younger Soldiers to learn from, to guide them in the right direction.
When I became an NCO, I felt like I could really make a difference in Soldiers' lives."
And an example is what he's become.
"Master Sergeant Farrell is one of the most professional and competent NCOs I have worked with in more than twenty-five years of service," said Col. Augustus L. Owens, deputy commander, CECOM LCMC (Forward).
Developing Soldiers is more than a duty to this master sergeant, it's a passion. Farrell encourages Soldiers to have a life development plan. He says a Soldier should always have a plan.
Challenges never cease when adversaries are alive and well; that's why Farrell holds continuous improvement and self-development as high priorities.
Farrell completed his bachelor's degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in business management so he can apply his classroom knowledge to his work in the Army.
"Do something that you want to do...something you have a passion for," Farrell said. "Just have a plan to get to the next level."
Most recently, Farrell has poured his efforts into reaching out to the nation's wounded warriors to inform them of job opportunities within the command.
"His work with the Army's Wounded Warrior Program speaks volumes about his selfless service and caring attitude," Owens said.
Farrell doesn't credit his career growth to himself but to a wealth of mentors throughout his career who showed him what a good NCO should be like.
Specifically, Farrell credits Command Sgt. Maj. Tyrone Johnson, CECOM LCMC, as his mentor and an example of how a senior enlisted leader in a command comprised largely of civilians should operate.
"Admittedly, my current position has been challenging," said Farrell who is accustomed to working with a majority of Soldiers rather than civilians. "But with Command Sergeant Major Johnson's leadership and guidance, I have learned to acclimate to the civilian environment so, together, our mission is accomplished."
Farrell explained that working with civilians is different in that a Soldier readily takes orders and executes, while the civilian operates in a work environment that is more collaborative.
"Master Sergeant Farrell takes the same caring approach of taking care of the civilian work force as he does in taking care of his Soldiers," Johnson said.
Maintaining that balance between Soldier and civilian culture has been essential in his most recent task of 'taking care of people.' At CECOM LCMC (Forward), Farrell is tasked with ensuring advanced party personnel have what they need to transition to APG so they can execute their missions for Army Team Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or Army Team C4ISR.
"I could not ask for a better leader to be a part of the command team of APG (Forward) and tackling such an important job of relocating the current workforce from Fort Monmouth to the new C4ISR Center of Excellence at APG," Johnson said.
Challenges aside, Farrell continues to grow as an NCO and sharpen his interpersonal skills needed to get his job done.
"Master Sergeant Farrell is very approachable and is consulted by many of our advanced party personnel for advice on a variety of issues ranging from sponsorship to motorcycle safety," Owens said. "He keeps me in line and makes sure that we keep our focus on the health, welfare and safety of our workforce."
A father of two, Farrell said his Family keeps him grounded.
"My girls have been supportive throughout my entire career," Farrell said. "Their strength has made me stronger."
As retirement slowly but surely approaches, Farrell said his service won't stop.
"When I take off the uniform, I see myself continuing to support the Warfighter as a civilian. I want to continue to give back," he said.