Basics sets an environment for success

| September 27, 2013 | 0 Comments
Hairston III

Hairston III

1st Sgt. Willie Hairston III
Company B
Warrior Transition Battalion
Pacific Regional Medical Command

I believe the term “Back to Basics” is an overdue concept.

As a first sergeant in a Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), I ensure that assigned cadre and Soldiers practice basic leadership in transition.

It’s perceived that Soldiers in transition are noncompliant due to their injuries/illnesses or they’re exempt from compliance to Army protocols, but these beliefs are incorrect.

I ensure the environment is set from the beginning. Strong, solid and fair leadership is what’s presented to newly assigned personnel, both officer and enlisted. I believe once a Soldier appears in a new environment, he or she will adapt accordingly to that new environment.

If that environment displays weakness, such as biased leadership practices, incompetence, Army policy violations, favoritism, racism or sexism (just to name a few), then the Soldier will expect poor leadership. The new Soldier may then become an advocate and contributor in supporting toxic leadership.

Back to basics practices involve those protocols we’ve somehow forgotten about as an Army. What used to be common practices, such as these:

•Assuming the correct position while addressing seniority;

•Paying attention to detail;

•Near-term training schedules;

•Tasks, conditions and standards for all training exercises;

•Uniform inspections; and

•The earning of three or four day passes for performance above and beyond, versus putting in for a pass because you want one.

Earning a pass is no longer required in today’s Army, but is desperately needed in order to return to the high-caliber Army of yesterday. While today’s noncommissioned officers are far more technologically advanced and better educated, the caliber of today’s average NCOs is no match from those of the Vietnam- and Grenada-era NCOs.

Unfortunately, today’s NCOs have a different set of values and beliefs. Basic leadership (referring to back to basics) is not instilled within today’s Soldiers as it used to be. This reason is why I make it mandatory in every unit I’m assigned to that we show what right looks like in accordance with the regulations.

Routine in-ranks inspections, training in accordance with appropriate doctrine and having the doctrine on-hand, sensing sessions, proper uniform enforcements, and the list goes on, is what, back to basics means to me. These are just a few of the things we do at the WTB in support of going back to the basics.

While I can’t go on naming everything that applies, I’m hoping the intent of this message is perceived correctly and with a professional attitude.

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Category: Standing Columns, Training

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