United States Army Infantry School command sergeant major, CSM Steven W. McClaflin, said he is hopeful about the changes currently underway at Fort Benning.

The incoming leader's return is full circle from his basic training beginning at Fort Benning in 1985.

McClaflin said he is looking forward to passing on the practical knowledge gained during that time to Soldiers in training.

"I look at everything here as a great opportunity for me to
Input from skilled Soldiers like McClaflin hopefully give something back from what I've learned in my operational experience in Iraq and Afghanistan ... bring some relevancy to what we do here at Fort Benning and continue training great leaders and Soldiers," he said.

McClaflin's military education includes the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Airborne School, Ranger School, Jumpmaster School and Drill Sergeant School, during which he received the Association of the United States Army Leadership Award. He has deployed numerous times to include assignments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

McClaflin has previously served as a drill sergeant on Sand Hill and a ranger instructor at 4th Ranger Training Battalion. He said his assignments at Fort Benning were some of the "best experiences" in his career.

Most recently, he was assigned to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Germany.
Although he enjoyed that experience, the incoming USAIS command sergeant major said he is glad to be back because he loves this community.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Combat Infantryman Badge, second award. He was selected as the 82nd Airborne Division NCO of the Year in 2000, and he is a member of the Audie Murphy Club and recipient of the Order of Saint Maurice.

The Maryland native said he has received guidance from outgoing USAIS command sergeant major, CSM Matthew Walker, and others who have held the position and still live in the community. He plans to build upon what is already in place at the school and gradually add his input, he said.

McClaflin said he is optimistic about his arrival during the Maneuver Center of Excellence transition period.

"This will just give us (at the schools) the opportunity to understand better what each one brings to the table," he said. "For me, it's a challenge that I look forward to facing ... as we continue to develop these Soldiers getting ready to support an Army at war."