“It’s not stuff. It’s people. It’s men and women of courage, who are willing to get up each and every day; put on their gear; get out and climb into trucks, helicopters, airplanes; get into amphibious vehicles; jump out of airplanes; and that takes men and women of character and courage and it takes good noncommissioned officers and well trained officers to make all of that happen.”
GEN Gordon R. Sullivan
USASMA, Ft. Bliss, Texas
General Gordon R. Sullivan, as he has done for the past 13 years, shared his experiences as an Army leader with Class 62 of the Sergeants Major Academy. The annual professional development session, hosted by the commandant, Command Sergeant Major Rory Malloy has proven to be both informative and popular with the senior noncommissioned officers.
The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy was founded in July 1972, at Ft. Bliss, Texas, and graduated its first students in 1973. The commandant and his world class staff and academic facility creates all curricula for each level of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) and play a key role in the education of all enlisted leaders from corporal to command sergeant major with the active Army, Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve.
The purpose of the sergeants major course is to prepare master sergeants and sergeants major to elevate from tactical level thinking to an operational and strategic perspective. What the senior NCOs learn during the 10 month course prepares them for leadership positions in battalion through major command levels. The Academy also trains NCOs from our sister services and global allies. The marine corps, navy, air force and coast guard send their best and brightest senior noncommissioned officers to be trained at the Academy and Class 62 includes 38 international students from thirty countries.
GEN Sullivan talked about the Chief of Staff of the Army’s priorities; win the current fight; develop a mix of capabilities; preserve the all volunteer force; strengthen our profession and revitalize leader development programs. He also spoke of his experiences as the former Chief of Staff of the Army and shared his lessons learned during his 50 plus years as a member of America’s Army, both in and out of uniform. He gave the students first hand information on how the Army has successfully dealt with issues in the past and what we have learned. He talked about Army values and his vision for the future of our Army.
And he talked about the essence of the United States Army: It’s not stuff. We all agree that we need the very best stuff to get the job done, but the true essence of an Army is quality people. In the final analysis, it always comes down to people, men and women of character, who are willing to go to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not stuff – it’s men and women of character. The strength of our nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our Soldiers, the strength of our Soldiers is our Families, and this is what makes us Army Strong!
GEN Sullivan ended his remarks with a simple two word message to Class 62 – “Thank you”. Thank you and all the great Soldiers you represent, for your selfless service to the nation. Thank you for all you do and for all you will do for America’s Army. You are truly the backbone of the Army.