Leaders’ tools found in regs, not net-surfing

| October 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

Staff Sgt. Nickolas Hamilton
Department of Psychiatry, Tripler Army Medical Center


“What is the muzzle velocity of the M-16A2 rifle?” I asked.

My Soldier didn’t know the answer and gave a simple reply: “Staff sergeant, I do not know at this time.”

I then asked, “If you do not know, then do you know where you would find it?”

A smirk and a shrug came; he answered, “Google?”

The Soldier gave an unsure answer. He wasn’t unsure because he was attempting to be witty or snide; rather, his answer was confident that he could, in fact, find everything he wanted to know about the Army on the Internet.

The tools for leaders are readily available, regardless of the ease of using Google. Leaders need to do little more than to open a regulation and see the guidance that is a compilation of generations of Army knowledge.

As a Soldier who joined the Army during the post 9-11 era, I was never told the importance of Army regulations and field manuals. I was merely told to sit and memorize what ARs or FMs were associated to some numerical allocation.

As I began exploring the foreign world of ARs and FMs, I started speaking to Soldiers. I realized that I was viewed as speaking a language that was foreign to others; I realized, as I cracked open regulation after regulation, that the information inside was actually quite useful.

It was then that I came across, potentially, the most influential document that I have seen in my Army career: FM 7-22.7, the Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide.

I couldn’t believe there was an actual manual to being an NCO. I flipped from page to page, carefully reading from one sentence to the next. I began to hang on the very words that were meant to inspire honor, duty and professionalism for generations of NCOs.

I sat perplexed as to why I hadn’t been exposed to this document before. This finding was a huge piece of the puzzle I’d been missing as an NCO for many years. This FM gave me the direction I had been so desperately seeking, and answered so many questions.

At Tripler Army Medical Center, great effort goes into enhancing the knowledge of our future leaders. Our NCO support channel is realizing that it goes much deeper than just saying “let’s get back to basics.”

This standard has spawned a new era of Soldier development at TAMC. Our command sergeant major is now holding junior enlisted professional development sessions spearheaded by junior enlisteds and NCOs.

We are engaging leaders at the lowest levels. We are empowering them to become the next generation of leaders who are not only tactically proficient, but are also technical masters of the guidance laid out in FM 7-22.7. It was added to the TAMC list of required reading for NCOs. More than ever, there is a spirit of holding leaders and Soldiers accountable. This harkens back to an era when NCOs knew their Soldiers.

TAMC is fostering an environment of NCOs supporting each other, where Soldiers know what to expect from their leaders, and leaders know what they are expected to do.

Our leaders are engaging their Soldiers directly, and as they leave and become a part of other units, it strengthens our Army.

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