By Tiffany Carty
As a leader, do you know your Soldiers, would you stand for them? Do you believe in giving chances or is your leadership style filled with the gusto of punishment?
I wrote the letter below for a Soldier I once supervised. I went to bat for this Soldier because for some reason I knew in my heart he didn’t know what he had done was so bad. At the time this happened, my command took into consideration what I said about my Soldier. He still had to pay a price for what he did by getting demoted, but overall he was given a second chance. This Soldier is still in the Army today and in 2020 he was just promoted to CW2.
This letter of recommendation highly recommends WO1 Doe, for promotion to CW2. I was WO1 Doe’s first supervisor when he joined the United States Army in 2003, at Hunter Army Airfield as a 42A, Human Resource Specialist. I was the S1 NCOIC and assigned Doe as the Leave and Finance Clerk. As a young Private, Doe was always motivated and I never had any issues with him; whether it was Soldiering – PMCS’ing his vehicle, Sergeant’s Time Training, staff duty, or his daily S1 job as our unit’s Finance Clerk. Doe was always on top of things and willing to learn new things within the S1 shop. As a young Soldier, out of the six Soldiers I led, Doe was one of my stellar performers when it came to knowing his job and becoming an Army HR subject matter expert. He swore by my number one rule – “Take Care of Soldiers! Always processed their paperwork as if it were your own.”
One day I was called into the Battalion Commander’s office to talk about an incident that happened the night before with Doe. The Commander and Command Sergeant Major asked me if I knew what had happened, explained to me what happened, and how Doe could be court-martialed for that type of punishment. I told the Commander that Doe was a great Soldier. I added that he should take into consideration that he was a new Soldier to the Army, should be given another chance and only demoted from PFC to PVT, but no court-martial.
At the time, Doe was 18 years old and had no knowledge of the Army’s regulations and policies on UCMJ when it came to conduct off post, or the repercussion on the duplication and misrepresentation of military identification cards. After talking to Doe, he had no idea what he had done was a federal offense. He was very apologetic, ashamed and saddened about his conduct.
As his NCO, it was my duty to stand up for an outstanding Soldier like Doe who I knew had the potential to become something great. One unknowing mistake as a young Soldier in the Army would not deter him from reaching his highest potential. Becoming a Warrant Officer in the United States Army is an incredible feat already achieved by Doe as a WO1. This speaks volumes of Doe and shows that he took his mistake as a young Soldier, learned from it, and made himself better. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of promotion to Warrant Officer Two.
Doe has not only made me proud to have served with him, but he has made his family proud and most importantly the Army proud of all his deployments, dedication and selfless service thus far. This is today’s model Soldier!
As an NCO, it is important to create a relationship with your Soldiers, get to know them; who they really are. One of the things I use to say was, “A Soldier can smell if you are looking out for their well-being, and if they think you are, they will give you the world.” Meaning, when you take care of your Soldiers (ensuring their going to school, teaching them everything you know, and getting in the trenches with them) they will go above and beyond what the mission requires.
Not every decision you make as an NCO or Officer will always be the correct one, but when you know your Soldiers, it makes it a lot easier to handle stressful and challenging situations. You never know, you may be leading the next CSM of the Army. So do you know and would you stand for your Soldiers?