The path to success has not changed. I have done the same things that you are going to do through assignments from squad leader to platoon sergeant, all the leadership assignments that you can expect as a noncommissioned officer. To be successful in the Army you must excel, and to excel you must separate yourself from the pack and ask yourself, “What else can I do, how can I do better?”
NCOs must take responsibility for their soldiers on and off duty. If they do that, and they create an environment in which soldiers can be all they can be, they’ll be successful and they’ll have great careers.
Don’t set your sights on being the 14th or whatever Sergeant Major of the Army. Be the best leader you can be. Master the art of leadership at your level, that’s really how our whole promotion system works. That’s how you have a rewarding career. You do it by accomplishing the mission and taking care of your people, and you do that one step at a time. I didn’t start out 30 years ago to be Sergeant Major of the Army. I started out to be the best soldier I could possibly be and the best leader I could possibly be.
SMA Robert E. Hall
There’s nothing in the world that can take the place of persistence. Talent won’t, genius won’t, education won’t. If you’re persistent and determined to keep going, you’ll get there. You can never see the full development of yourself down the road. But there’s a certain distance you can see. I believe if you go as far as you can see and then get there, you’ll be able to see a little bit farther and so on.
Soldiers spend too much time and energy thinking about things they can’t affect, then they slight themselves, and sometimes other soldiers and the mission, in the things they can affect. Don’t be concerned about what happened yesterday. I’m not saying forget your past, what I am saying is to be more concerned about what’s going on right in front of you, now.
An easy way to stay focused is to think about the NCO Creed every day. The NCO Creed is filled with many words of wisdom and guidance that capture the essence of what it means to be a soldier, an NCO, in America’s Army. There’s great strength in statements like, “No one is more professional than I am.” All the answers are in the NCO Creed. It talks about how professional we should be, it talks about us being the backbone of the Army, it talks about NCO-officer relationships, it talks about integrity. It’s an affirmation of how we do business. The NCO Creed is my rock and should be the foundation on which all NCOs build their two ideals- leadership and professionalism. The essence of being a soldier always remains the same. I believe that if you go back and look at the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer it will lead you to success.
If you have the desire to go forth and make something of yourself, you can do it. Every day when I get up I see the Washington Monument. It stands tall in the snow, wind, rain, and sleet. You know why it stands tall? Because it has a great foundation. You need that kind of foundation for yourself as well.
SMA Gene C. McKinney
The same thing that it takes to be a good soldier will bring promotion, and the most important thing soldiers can do to enhance their careers is job performance. You have to take the tough jobs and assignments so you can show what you can do. Concentrate on doing the very best you can with your resources- the race will not only go to the swift but to the ones with long distance endurance, and the better prepared you are, the better chance you have at being successful. Dreams are very important. That’s what causes people to strive to achieve certain goals and to do their very best. Remember- you are part of history.
SMA Richard A. Kidd
Promotions are based on the whole person concept. A soldier’s ability to compete for promotion was never in the past, isn’t today, nor will ever be based solely on a written report. Certainly, the evaluation report plays a critical role, but there are many other areas considered by the promotion board members. SQT scores, appearance of the soldier- based on the DA photo- experience, variety of assignments, difficult leader assignments, the disciplinary record, awards and decorations, physical fitness, NCOES attendance, academic reports, are all areas other than the evaluation report the promotion board considers to determine promotion eligibility. If you do your job to the best of your ability, the rest seems to take care of itself. In all honesty, I’ve never worried about a promotion or an efficiency report. I’ve always gotten reports that were accurate, and I’ve always gotten promoted fairly. I can’t say that I was always pleased with those reports, but looking back on them now, they were fair. That’s how hard it is to be a good NCO.
SMA Julius W. Gates
Experience, especially staff experience, is vital to the CSM. A soldier whose highest level of experience has been that of the first sergeant- no matter how good a first sergeant he may have been- is going to require a period of adjustment when he finds himself the commander’s chief enlisted representative on the battalion staff. During the interim, while the new battalion CSM learns to shake the adversary role he played as a hard-charging first sergeant and learns how to work with the staff, soldiers suffer.
SMA Glen E. Morrell
In the absence of any formal schooling I watch a guy who’s been successful.
SMA Silas L. Copeland
Hard questions must be answered on promotion boards. What has this NCO done during his career? What has he failed to do? What makes him better (or worse) than the hundreds of other soldiers against whom he is competing? Did he look for the tough jobs or did he seek the line of least resistance? Does he take care of his subordinates yet demand that they produce to the best of their ability? What has he done personally to become a better soldier? The answers to these questions do not come easily. Not everyone can be selected. Some really fine soldiers are not promoted because others are better qualified. The differences between the NCOs who are selected and those who are not are frequently very small. When you don’t have quantity you make up for it with quality and staying power. You can take a lot of punishment if you learn not to complain about the little stuff.
SMA William G. Bainbridge
A question frequently asked is, “What can I do to improve my chances of promotion?” The reply is really quite simple. A soldier must seek the responsible jobs and see to it that his job performance will earn him the desired efficiency report; and he must strive to improve his score on his MOS evaluation test. Nothing is out of reach if you set high goals and work toward them sincerely.
SMA George W. Dunaway
To be a professional, career soldier can’t be done in a 40-hour work week.
SMA William O. Wooldridge