Command Sgt. Maj. Dan McCraw Jr.
500th Military Intelligence Brigade
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As the new 500th Military Intelligence Brigade command sergeant major, it’s my intent to define “Back to Basics” and share my intent for our entire brigade’s Soldiers and leaders, at echelons from Texas to Japan.
My sense is we tend to pass Back to Basics from the highest echelons of command down to the young corporal, sergeant and lieutenant without necessary guidance. I believe there are several key pieces missing.
I believe Back to Basics is applicable to all Soldiers of all ranks, not just our junior Soldiers and leaders. I will assist my battalion command sergeants major and company first sergeants in defining what Back to Basics means to me, and I will direct them to define the term for their subordinates.
These basics are not necessarily found only in Army regulations and field manuals, and are not something you can Google.
Understanding the basics starts with our doctrine, regulations, history and the nature of our profession. Basics can be improved by reaching out to Soldiers who knew and lived the basics before we came along.
This means, for me, contacting retired command sergeants major and seeking mentorship from them. The Soldiers who served in the 1980s and 1990s are our institution of knowledge in regard to the basics we strive to embrace again.
We have proven to our country and fellow citizens that we can accomplish our mission: to fight and win our nation’s wars. As we move into the future, it is imperative that we get Back to Basics and reach back to those from our collective past who can help us move forward and maintain the established trust.
We know we have to get back into the barracks, enable noncommissioned officers to be the primary trainers, certify subordinate trainers, use the eight-step training model, visit our Soldiers’ off-post residences and forgo contracted resources such as mowing, latrine cleaning, installation guards and such.
If we, as leaders, show our subordinates how to research, educate ourselves and reach out in order to define Back to Basics — making them a priority in the process — then those subordinates will do the same. Doing so will allow our young Soldiers to grow into the leaders of the future and ensure that we are prepared for any contingency we may encounter in the future.
I challenge us all to define our Back to Basics. I believe educating ourselves and our leaders, as well as reaching out to mentors from our past, will help significantly.