News: SMA talks NCO promotions, striving for excellence
Story by Spc. Cassandra Monroe
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq—Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston explained that the promotions system for junior enlisted soldiers will dramatically change next summer, during a town hall meeting at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Sept. 27.
The process will be streamlined and become a near paperless system. However, that is not the biggest change. Preston said commander and board points will go away, and points will be redistributed toward physical fitness, range qualifications and military, educational courses.
“soldiers need to be the best they can be. They need to be an expert in their profession,” said Preston. He went on to add that there are multiple opportunities for soldiers to demonstrate they are better than their peers, and those achievements will be worth promotion points.
He also spoke about what makes a good non-commissioned officer.
“Spending that extra time with your soldiers is what sets you apart as an NCO,” he said. “That’s what gets you promoted. It’s not always about how good you are as an NCO; it’s how good your soldiers are. The most important thing you can do as an NCO is to teach, share information, and coach soldiers.”
Following the town hall meeting, Preston met with a group of soldiers for some one-on-one soldier interaction during a dinner at the base’s Freedom Rest center. There, he addressed more questions with the promotions scale and emphasized on teaching younger soldiers to participate in instructional self development courses, correspondence courses and military schools, such as the Warrior Leadership Course, to become a better soldier and to excel at the boards.
“I’m a new sergeant, and I took away new ways of training to help my [soldiers] at the board,” said Sgt. David Laumeyer, a medic with 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.
Laumeyer, an Elizabethtown , Ky., also added that getting a chance to see the Sergeant Major of the Army was a great morale booster.
“It was an honor because there’s only been 13 Sergeant Majors of the Army,” he said. “It’s not someone you get to meet often, so it was a good experience.”
For others in leadership positions, such as Command Sgt. Maj. James Daniels, the brigade command sergeant major for 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Armored Division, having Preston was a visit his soldiers deserved for their hard work.
“If you go to the boards … you learn and you should be rewarded,” said Daniels, a Fort Gaines, Ga., native. “This gives the soldiers a chance to ask tough questions, then to tell their unit the answers.