By Spc. Maurice Galloway, 17th Fires Public AffairsMay 27, 2010
The U.S. military has a long-standing reputation of excelling at reaching its goals, and many service members join the military to give themselves a sense of direction.
Twenty years ago, one Soldier embarked on a journey that would contribute to not only his success, but the successes of those he commands as well.
Lt. Col. Michael Phillips, commander, 308th Brigade Support Battalion and native of Monaca, Pa., recalls the beginning steps of his goal to run 10,000 miles.
"I can remember my first Army run vividly," Phillips said. "I was in the University of Dequesne ROTC program. The downpour of rain and the icy wind made for the worst possible conditions imaginable. As I thought to myself how much I hated the cold, hated the rain and especially hated running, I will never forget the words that broke my train of thought."
Those words came from the ROTC instructor: "You have to be out here and you're going to run, so you might as well get something out of it."
"That day the only goal I could think of was finishing that run and getting out of the freezing rain," Phillips said.
Phillips's soon developed a passion for running which has turned into a goal-oriented philosophy that has trickled down through his battalion, known for its motto 'Pride in Performance.'
"We encourage our Soldiers to set goals for themselves and to strive for development," said 1st Sgt. Vinson Washington, Company B, 308th BSB, and a native of Augusta, Ga.
Washington said that, during developmental counseling's, each Soldier is asked to list goals and develop a detailed plan to achieve them.
"Our leaders are assisting each Soldier in their goals, whether it's getting their associate's degree or achieving the maximum score on the physical fitness test," Washington said.
The 308th BSB approaches their deployment to Basra Province with that same goal-oriented mentality.
Phillips said he asked each section in his battalion to evaluate their goals for the mission and the response was remarkable.
The unit completed over 1,300 missions, drove over 65,000 accident-free miles, moved eight million bottles of water, six million pounds of ice, and three million pounds of other supplies such as vehicles, medical supplies, and mail throughout the 17th Fires Brigade's operational environment in southern Iraq.
The "Red Lion" battalion accomplished this on top of managing a dining facility that has served over 1.8 million meals.
Phillips said he approached every run with the mentality that it would draw him closer to his goal.
"I set benchmarks for myself in my running, which keeps me focused. I applied these techniques toward our deployment, which allowed us to achieve so much," Phillips said.
Phillips's reward is simply the satisfaction of knowing he accomplished his long-awaited goal.
The 308th however, received a more tangible reward. The unit was recognized in September 2009 by the U.S. Navy Theater Electronic Warfare as the best Electronic Warfare Team in Iraq and was selected as the 2010 Quartermaster Corps Distinguished Unit of Regiment.