Story and photos by
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
HONOLULU — No matter what level you reach as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army, you continue to learn and grow.
Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia, command sergeant major, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, provided his unit’s senior NCOs the opportunity to continue that process with a visit to one of the Army’s oldest military reservations, Battery Randolph, part of Fort DeRussy, here, recently.
“This is senior-level professional development; we’re not teaching the ABCs,” Tia said. “You already understand the structure of how to lead and take orders.”
Honolulu’s Fort DeRussy is one of five forts of the same name in the U.S.
Two forts in Louisiana, one in Kentucky and one in Washington, D.C., were all built during the U.S. Civil War; the Fort DeRussy in Hawaii was constructed in 1911 to defend Honolulu Harbor on Oahu from attack. It currently houses the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, which has exhibits that cover the history of U.S. Army warfare in the Pacific hemisphere.
During their visit, 8th STB’s senior NCOs toured the museum’s collections, which contain World War II armor pieces, an AH-1 Cobra helicopter and small arms.
“I think seeing this history, it has reinforced that generations upon generation of NCOs have been the backbone of our Army and our military,” said 1st Sgt. John Manning, first sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th STB, 8th TSC.
Manning went on to say that, at some point in time and in years to come, current senior-level NCOs will be the NCOs remembered on plaques in museums across the nation that future generations will read about.
The senior NCOs did more than just visit the museum, though. They were tasked to break down into five groups and give a presentation on three topics: one event; one NCO hero and how he exemplified the “Be, Know, Do” leadership model; and something relating to the NCO Corps.
“I learned a whole lot by just listening to the five presentations,” Tia said. “You guys have done all of these things throughout your (NCO education system), but the key is to keep doing them.”
“We got a chance as senior NCOs to come together, we got a chance to network, we got to draw off of each person’s individual talents,” said Master Sgt. Mattie Smith-Clayton, plans NCO, Support Operations, 8th TSC. “It allows the senior NCOs who are used to standing back to step forward and show the talents that they possess.”
Tia said that senior NCOs are the ones Soldiers and young officers look to for guidance and to show what “right” looks like, so they need to practice and hone those teaching skills.
“We train ourselves,“ Tia said. “When we put our collective heads together, it’s pretty amazing the things we can accomplish.
“We are noncommissioned officers,” he added. “We are the trainers of the Army.”