News: Iraq's top enlisted leader visits former unit – 1st 'Raider' Brigade
Story by Sgt. David Hodge
By Sgt. David Hodge
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – "They're awesome Soldiers – motivated and disciplined," said Iraq's top enlisted leader after visiting with Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Falcon on Nov. 26 in southern Baghdad's Rashid District.
Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Wilson, Multi-National Forces – Iraq, visited leaders and Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, to gain a better understanding of the operating environment of his former outfit, the 1st "Raider" Brigade.
"I saw the leaders and Soldiers of the Raider Brigade doing what they need to do to secure a future for Iraq," stated Wilson, who hails from Aberdeen, N.C. "Based upon the MNF-I commander's vision, the Raider Brigade is on track to be a success."
In 2003, Wilson served as the 1st BCT Command Sergeant Major when the Raiders captured Saddam Hussein.
"Throughout Baghdad, the Sons of Iraq and local people are coming forward to turn in criminals," explained Wilson, a Sapper qualified combat engineer. "The violence is decreasing in areas such as Rashid, but there are areas where we have a little bit of struggle."
After completing his tour of southern Baghdad, Wilson met with senior non-commissioned officers at the Raider Café Dining Facility to reiterate the importance of platoon-level checks and inspections, and to ensure Soldiers are adhering to the rules and standards.
Wilson also told the leaders their Soldiers are a motivated and disciplined force.
"The leadership does great things for the Soldiers; the three battalion sergeants major I met with are first class," Wilson said. "They set the standard, and the Raider Brigade Soldiers are still the same as I knew back in 2003."
Master Sgt. Ulysses Grant Martin, the intelligence NCO in charge, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st BCT, served with Wilson in 2003 and said the former brigade command sergeant major taught Soldiers to grow as leaders and empowered his NCOs.
"As a mentor, he taught me to take time with things: be calm and collective and make the right decisions," explained Martin, a Chicago native. "I wanted to continue serving with him. I haven't had that type of connection with a leader since."
At the luncheon, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bobb, top enlisted leader of the 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., said that Wilson led the Raider Brigade across the border into Iraq – and into a combat zone in 2003 – for the first time since the Vietnam War.
"He will always be part of the 1st BCT and the 4th Inf. Div.," said Bobb, who hails from the Isles of Trinidad, West Indies. "Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson is sincere and he listens. I could tell that by the way he interacted with the Soldiers outside the wire."
Wilson presented coins for excellence throughout the day to boost Soldiers' morale at the various combat outposts and joint security stations in the Rashid District on the day prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.