“This reading list is an important element in the professional development of all leaders in the Army. We can never spend too much time reading and thinking about the Army profession and its interaction with the world at large. These readings will deepen our understanding of the history of armies, the critical role of leadership in combat, and the strategic environment of today and the future. There is simply no better way to prepare for the future than a disciplined, focused commitment to a personal course of reading, study, thought and reflection. I challenge each of you to tackle these books and improve your power of critical thinking and understanding of the profession of arms.”
General Raymond T. Odierno
38th Chief of Staff, Army
That quote is from the Army’s web site and its meaning is clear. If you are a professional Soldier, you are focused on broadening your understanding of the military art which means a continuing commitment to professional development. And if we as noncommissioned officers are to keep pace in an Army in transition, we, as Army leaders, must be well read in all aspects of our profession.
In that spirit, I would like to offer for your consideration suggested reading to supplement the Chief’s list. I will just name a few that I believe every NCO Active, Guard and Reserve should read and should have as part of their professional library:
1. Guardians of the Republic by Ernest F. Fisher, Jr. A History of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the U.S. Army: If you only read one book about the history of the NCO corps – this should be the one.
2. The Three Meter Zone by Command Sergeant Major J. D. Pendry, U.S. Army Retired: This book discusses Army values in “user friendly” terms. It has important messages for Army leaders past, present, and future.
3. The Red Badge of Courage by Steven Crane: A classic that transcends generations; a good story that is filled with leadership lessons.
4. Living with Honor by Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta: A candid account of an American hero. The first living person since the conclusion of the Vietnam War to be presented the Medal of Honor.
5. The Sergeants Major of the Army on Leadership and the Profession of Arms and the U.S. Army Campaign Streamers: colors of Courage Since 1775 both AUSA publications which can be ordered online.
Some of the books I have listed are new, some are old. Some are available everywhere and some are out of print and may be difficult to find. I could list more but I would like to hear from you. If you would like to add to this list, send me the information and if it fits, I will add it to the list on the AUSA NCO website.
To find the U.S. Army Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List click here:
Thank you for your Selfless Service to the Nation and for all you do for Soldiers. And thank you for your support of AUSA.