175th FMSC holds change of responsibility

| February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Outgoing Sgt. Maj. Austin A. McLaughlin passes the command colors to Col. Nicholas LaSala Jr., director of the 175th FMSC during his change of responsibility ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on Feb. 12. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt 1st Class Michael Behlin, 8th TSC Public Affairs)

Alexia Gardner
Contributing Writer

FORD ISLAND — The change of responsibility is one of the oldest Army traditions, celebrating the past accomplishments of the outgoing sergeant major or first sergeant, and the hopeful future for the incoming.

Feb. 12, the 175th Financial Management Support Center said goodbye to its long-time senior enlisted adviser and friend, Sgt. Maj. Austin A. McLaughlin, and welcomed Sgt. Maj. Michael R. McCabe.

McLaughlin arrived to the 175th shortly before its operational deployment to the Central Command area, in February of 2015, and his total time in service has amounted to a quarter of a century. Throughout those 25 years, he has developed himself as a leader and served as a positive mentor to those around him.

Sgt. Maj. Austin A. McLaughlin addresses listeners during the 175th FMSC change of responsibility ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on Feb. 12. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Behlin, 8th TSC Public Affairs)

“Working under him gave me a different perspective and point of view,” said Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Cropper. “I learned how to be a leader in different ways and different avenues on how you can approach things.”

McLaughlin, a Bowie, Texas, native, has been an effective leader by following some of the leadership philosophies he believes in. One includes being there for your Soldiers, but not being in their way.

“I believe, first and foremost, that good people trump good leadership any day of the week,” said McLaughlin. “Sometimes, and especially in this unit, you’re exceptionally blessed that it’s been one good person after another that comes into the organization and made it great.”

McLaughlin has had several accomplishments throughout his career, but he believes the ones made here will ensure his legacy. He worked diligently to establish relationships across what is known as the “fiscal triad” (resource management, contracting and disbursing) and with joint financial managers, across the Pacific, to ensure commanders and units have what they need to accomplish the mission.

“This is my legacy unit. This is where I felt I made my final and most influential impact in my military career,” said McLaughlin.

Through his many years of service, McLaughlin has remained humble and patriotic. He knows what his priorities are and has stayed true to himself and hasn’t let his rank go to his head.

“I’ve always maintained that the military doesn’t solely define me,” said McLaughlin. “I’ve stayed true to being a family man first, loving my country and dedicated to the service, but understanding that, when I leave, that I’m Austin McLaughlin.”

Sgt. Maj. Michael R. McCabe addresses listeners during the 175th FMSC change of responsibility ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on February 12. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Behlin, 8th TSC Public Affairs)

It is a bittersweet moment for the unit to see McLaughlin go, but it understands this moment was inevitable and is excited to see what McCabe has in store for the unit, as new leadership always brings a fresh perspective.

“I know Sgt. Maj. McLaughlin has to go, but I would love to hold onto him my entire time here as we work very well together,” said Col. Nicholas LaSala Jr., director of the 175th FMSC. “The good thing is, we have a great replacement. I have a great deal of confidence in Sgt. Maj. McCabe; his reputation precedes him.”

McCabe, a New Jersey native, comes to Fort Shafter all the way from Germany and is happy to embrace the 175th FMSC way of life. He understands these Soldiers have been doing well under McLaughlin and wants them to continue, but he will help to improve the organization.

“I live by the saying that you always improve your foxhole,” McCabe said. “I do want to find what’s not working and improve that and, of course, sustain what is already working.

Though McCabe and McLaughlin have different views on leadership, they both understand what comes first: the well-being of the organization and the growth of the Soldiers.

“My favorite saying is that if you pass by a mistake, you set a new standard,” McCabe said. “So, I always encourage on-the-spot corrections.”

McLaughlin said he will miss this unit and left some departing words for McCabe.

“If he goes about letting the Soldiers operate like they have been, he’s going to have a heck of an easy job.”

Col. Nicholas LaSala Jr., director of the 175th FMSC addresses Outgoing Sgt. Maj. Austin A. Mclaughlin and incoming Sgt Maj. Michael McCabe during his change of responsibility ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on February 12. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt 1st Class Michael Behlin, 8th TSC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Sgt 1st Class Michael Behlin)

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