Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Cherry
516th Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command (Theater)
As our Army transitions from combat operations into a non-combat environment, the skill sets required to maintain a successful garrison climate are similar in some aspects, but completely different in others, in respect to those used downrange.
Back to the basics is not just a new Army cliché; it is the new normal — an operational mind-set that must be implemented throughout all levels of command.
Often, today’s Soldiers ask, “What does back to the basics really mean?”
It is obvious our young Soldiers and officers did not experience the garrison operating in this type of climate before overseas contingency operations.
The 516th Signal Brigade has instituted a vigorous back to the basics campaign that incorporates barracks inspections, drills and ceremonies, company-level assessment boards and supply discipline, to mention a few. The targeted audience is company and below because the sphere of influence and training transpires at the individual and collective level.
The movement is gaining ground as the brigade commander and command sergeant major conduct unannounced visits, and the results are very noticeable.
We’re also concentrating on theater-specific training to sharpen the unit’s Soldier skills.
The process does not stop at the company or battalion level. The brigade leadership circulates throughout the Pacific theater talking, teaching and coaching our Soldiers and families while maintaining quarterly training briefs, command climate surveys and safety council meetings — the basics — to ensure the pulse of the organization remains positive.
Noncommissioned officers are the gatekeepers and standard bearers, servants to their assigned organization and Army. NCOs are charged with training, maintaining and enforcing standards within the formations with one ultimate goal — train tomorrow’s leaders, today, for contingency operations.
As stated earlier, back to the basics is not a new Army cliché; it’s the new normal, a way of life and the future of our Army.