News: Battalion Command sergeant major graduates, earns his tab
FORT BENNING, Ga. -Command Sgt. Maj. Courtney S. Mabus of the 6th Military Information Support Battalion (Airborne) Fort Bragg, N.C., graduated the US Army Ranger Course on Friday, August 24, 2012. Command Sgt. Maj. Mabus was one of 169 newly trained Ranger qualified soldiers to graduate.
At forty years old, Command Sgt. Maj. Mabus is one of the most accomplished soldiers in the Psychological Operations Regiment. After serving on multiple deployments, earning skill badges, awards, and being a drill sergeant, most would look back and think they've accomplished more than enough.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mabus is one of the oldest and highest ranking soldiers to ever graduate what is widely known as one of the toughest school schools in the US Army. So why now, at his age, and with almost 22 years of service, would a command sergeant major attend Ranger School?
"It was unfinished business," said Command Sgt. Maj. Mabus. "It would have been career regret if I had not had the opportunity to attend. What made me decide to go was watching the seats go unfilled month after month. Looking at the lack of Ranger qualified NCOs [non-commissioned officers] in our career field, the excuse of me being too old or too senior doesn't feel right when we have slots being unfilled. I hoped that if I went, it would serve as an example and motivation to the junior soldiers to attend as well. If I can do it at forty years old, they can do it too."
The Ranger course consists of three grueling and challenging phases designed and developed to give each candidate elite tactical and leader skills over 62 days. Focusing on patrolling, reconnaissance, ambushing, and raids, candidates are pushed to their limits while enduring physical and psychological stresses often found in combat.
Speaking about his experience while in the Ranger course, Command Sgt. Maj. Mabus says one of the biggest challenges with all his years of experience was learning how to be a good follower. "For me as a CSM, it's been a long time since I did basic soldier tasks. It's been a long time since I had gotten to be a soldier. The Ranger course allowed me to gain respect and admiration by my peers on performance. I had to carry my own weight, and not rely on my rank or position. It was challenging from an age perspective keeping up with and motivating soldiers half my age."
His family, Mrs. Amber Mabus, his three sons Corey, Noah, and Caleb were also in attendance. "You're too old!" said Mrs. Mabus when asked about her initial reaction to her husband wanting to attend Ranger school. "Then I saw how much work he put into getting ready for it." About her experience at the Ranger school graduation, she said "I don't think that most people truly appreciate the gravity or the difficulty of the course; I know I didn't. Graduation was the apex of an epic journey for Seth and his entire class. We were relieved, proud and ecstatic at the same time!"
In speaking about what his graduation means to him and what he hopes it means to other psychological operations soldiers, Command Sgt. Maj. Mabus said it motivates more soldiers and noncommissioned officers to lead from the front. "I view myself as the primary trainer of the battalion and the standard bearer for the unit. That's more than a statement. That's more than saying it. You have to be able to back that up with actions. If I can't do what I'm asking my soldiers to do, it's impossible for me to lead from the front."
Story by Gabriel Phillip-Purvis