Sun, sand, beaches lend to NCOPD

| July 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Senior leaders from around 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division hike to a secluded beach in the Kalalau Trail, in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, to a secluded beach on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, June 29, 2017. This hike was not just for the enjoyment of the environment; it allowed them to come together as a team and talk about a myriad of topics, from personal and military life to challenges they face within their units and how to solve them. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David N. Beckstrom, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Story and photo by
Sgt. David N. Beckstrom
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

WAINIHA, Hawaii — With sunlight breaking through the canopy of leaves above, senior enlisted leaders from around 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, hiked through the scenic trail of Kalalau Trail, in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, to a secluded beach on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, June 29.

This hike was not just for the enjoyment of the environment; it allowed them to come together as a team and talk about a myriad of topics – from personal and military life to challenges they face within their units and how to solve them.

Many times throughout the military, noncommissioned officer professional development, or NCOPD, is held in a large theater with stadium style seating and the attendees listening to a senior leader while looking at PowerPoint slides. Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland, the senior enlisted adviser for 2nd IBCT, 25th ID, said he wanted to do something a little different this time. He wanted to do something that would build esprit de corps while affording him the opportunity to discuss several recent changes to Army policies.

During this event, Holland spoke on topics such as the Sustainable Readiness Model, talent and personnel management, multi-domain battlefield, physical fitness and empowering leaders through relevant and pertinent knowledge.

“Over the past decade, the military has used the Army Force Generation model of maintaining a fighting force,” said Holland. “This model had units return from a deployment, get all new Soldiers, then train up for the next deployment. This no longer works with the type of mission we have been tasked with.”

Senior enlisted leaders from around 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division gather for a photo on a secluded beach in the Kalalau Trail, in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, to a secluded beach on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, June 29, 2017. This hike was not just for the enjoyment of the environment; it allowed them to come together as a team and talk about a myriad of topics, from personal and military life to challenges they face within their units and how to solve them. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David N. Beckstrom, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

With the Sustainable Readiness Model, the brigade needs to be ready to deploy at all times, Holland continued. This not only helps with readiness, but also manning requirements. The Soldiers within the brigade will have more consistency to bond and grow as a team. This is part of the main concept of this new model, reducing the peaks and valleys of the former manning plan.

However, since the drawdown of these forces, the standards have been raised and expectations of those within the armed forces have been scrutinized to ensure the fighting force is the best it can be.

“NCOs serve as role models and mentors to the next generation of military leaders,” Holland said. “We need to be out there setting the standard for our Soldiers by being physically fit, training as we fight and passing our knowledge onto our subordinates.”

As the participants of this event arrived to the secluded beach within the Kalalau Trail, Holland took a break from the trek and spoke to them about how to empower their subordinates.

Soldiers who are well informed and have relevant information is what makes the military the best fighting force in the world, said Holland. By ensuring the senior enlisted advisers from around the brigade are knowledgeable about the most recent changes to Army doctrine and the direction the military is heading, allows them to disseminate the information down to their units and throughout the brigade. This will not only make the brigade a better fighting force, it will also boost the trust and confidence within Soldiers.

“It is important to teach leaders and address concerns that Soldiers are facing within the brigade, so that the rumor mills can be cleared up and the correct information put out,” said 1st Sgt. Alejandro R. Arias, the first sergeant of D Company, 65th Bde. Engineer Battalion. “As I go back to my unit, I will be able to push the details from this training down to the lowest level by telling my platoon sergeants and the most pertinent things during safety briefs and other formats and forums so even the privates know what is going on and they can plan accordingly.”

Many business leaders say that networking is the key to being successful. For those within the military, this concept is just as crucial.

“The friendships and networking connections that have been formed while we hiked are another important part of this event,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Spear, the operations noncommissioned officer in charge of 2nd IBCT. “We are all on the same team, even if we don’t see each other every day. If we take these connections back to our units, it will make our daily tasks that much easier, because if we see an issue that we don’t know the answer to, we can reach out to those who are subject matter experts.”

Senior enlisted leaders from around 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division prepare to depart from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to go to the island of Kauai, Hawaii, June 29, 2017. This trip allowed them to come together as a team and talk about a myriad of topics, from personal and military life to challenges they face within their units and how to solve them. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David N. Beckstrom, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

The Army’s doctrine on developing leaders read as follows: The Army is committed to training, educating and developing its leaders to lead units in the complex and challenging operational environments of the twenty-first century. Training, education and experience in the schools and units develop leaders and prepare them for assignments of increased responsibility. Leader development is a continuous and progressive process, spanning a leader’s entire career.

“Quite often, I have heard that we need to mentor and shape our junior leaders because they are the next group of leaders,” said Master Sgt. Jasmine Young, the human resources NCOIC for 2nd IBCT, 25th ID. “However, senior leaders need mentoring, too, and I believe this event was a great way for the senior NCOs around the brigade to get not only the camaraderie, but the knowledge that is crucial to staying on top of our game.”

The more the 2nd IBCT leaders know, the easier it will be for new Soldiers to look to their first line supervisors for mentorship and guidance, said Young.

As the military evolves, the Soldiers need to know why things happen, not just that they do. Being able to help shape the future of the military will allow them to continue to be the best force in the world.

2nd Brigade continues to strives to develop its leaders, so the outcome of Gen. Colin Powell’s following quote never happens: “The day the Soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

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