Army Aviation

Developing Leaders for Tomorrow

Branch Command Sergeant Major / By CSM Eric C. Thom: For everyone that has last year’s copy of the Blue Book in pristine condition on the coffee or end table outside their office, please continue reading this article because I am writing this for you.

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Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment prepare to conduct an air assault operation from a 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion “Chinook” helicopter on June 23. The 36th Infantry Division Soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard were at Fort Hood for two weeks conducting their annual training.) / U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY MAJ RANDALL STILLINGER, 36th CAB PAO

Now if your previous copy sits on or in your workspace, with the corners dog-eared and worn as if it were ten years old as opposed to one, please feel free to continue to the next article because you get it.

This edition is all about our leadership – the faces and contact information for people and positions you may not even have known existed. Very few of you are going to come across an issue/event that hasn’t been seen before. It may be new to you but it has probably been pondered over by someone in the past. Our leaders can get you from a thought or concept to the desired outcome; most of the time that has to do with mission readiness in one way, shape or form.

fter all that is why we are here. If we are not fighting and winning our Nation’s wars, then we are training to fight and win our Nation’s wars. Contact our leaders; seek mentorship, training opportunities or just a third party point of view. We should never be afraid to reach out and touch the leadership; that is why they are here. I take to heart the two basic responsibilities of an NCO – accomplishment of my mission, and the welfare of my Soldiers. I expect every leader to do the same regardless of their cohort. Those are not just words in the NCO creed but the fundamental reasons the American people trust us not only to do our duties but with the lives of their sons and daughters.

Creating a Strategy
Our leaders have been the beneficiary of a previous leader’s mentorship. Well, now it is our time to create a leader development strategy of our own to benefit tomorrow’s leaders. In June the Army produced a field manual that will assist us in doing just that. FM 6-22, Leader Development, is out and it is a more in-depth answer to building a leader development program. Previously we covered the wave tops with ADP and ADRP 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders, but hitting the wave tops doesn’t help extensively when you were building a program from scratch. ADRP 6-22 did a great job expanding the leadership principles, foundations and roles of leaders but fell short on leader development. FM 6-22 provides information on leader development methods and seven chapters that describe the Army’s view on identifying and executing collective and individual leader development needs. Successful leaders know they must not only continually develop their subordinates but be held accountable for their development. Now you don’t have to have your picture on a page to build a leader development program. It’s doctrine and we should all be familiar with it. So if you don’t know if Presence is an attribute or a competency, then you may want to review Chapter One.

Finally, let me reiterate the most simple of truths. I think it was Harry S. Truman who said “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” As always the times they are a-changing, and if you are not expanding your knowledge via doctrine, professional publications and the like then you are failing to grow, and you can’t be an effective leader without the ability to grow. You won’t be current, and if you’re not current you’re not relevant. So read! (Or if you have been alive less time than I have been in the Army, then learn through osmosis or any other way that works for you).
As always it is an honor to serve as your branch CSM.
Above the Best!

CSM Thom
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CSM Eric C. Thom is the command sergeant major of the Aviation Branch and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, AL.