News: Windy City non-commissioned officer wants to be part of history
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Adam Shaw
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq - "I want to be a part of history," said Staff Sergeant Ronald White, squad leader, 51st Transportation Company, 30th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade.
"I want to look back one day and have stories to tell my children and grandchildren that will last for generations," White said. "I want them to be proud to say, 'that is the stuff I am made of: I am my father's child.' When history is written and all is said and done, I want to be remembered."
When the 29-year-old, father of four daughters was inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club during this deployment, it was an opportunity for him to inspire his Soldiers.
"My Soldier, Spc. Walton, said to me 'Sgt. White, if you can make Audie Murphy after trying so hard, I can be a sergeant before I leave, or at least promotable,'" said White. "It is moments like this that let me know that Soldiers are watching. Soldiers do listen, as long as you are doing, or have done, what you are telling them to do or be."
White knows that Soldiers are willing to follow excellent leaders, not only from his Soldiers, but from his own experiences as a Soldier. White said that when he transitioned from the Marines to the Army in 2003, his first sergeant, who used discipline and an infantry mindset, taught him that genuine care for the Soldiers was the right leadership and mentoring he needed to focus on.
"First Sergeant Judd showed me how to balance the hard line of discipline with compassion," White said. "He taught me how to display a stern, unwavering demeanor, yet speak to and treat Soldiers with dignity and sincerity. He was a senior non-commissioned officer who gave, and sacrificed, more than me daily, without regards to his personal comforts. He put his Soldiers' needs first. He was a leader who held us to the standards, but never stood above us. He set the bar for me and gave me the tools to reach the top."
To White, the first sergeant possessed the qualities a leader must have, and he applied them to his own style of leadership, something that has helped the Chicago, Ill., native, shape his Soldiers' careers.
"A Soldier of mine in a previous unit, Spc. Nava, had an outlook on the military that was negative," White said. "He looked forward to getting out, but he was deployed with me and later assigned to my squad. As I spent more time with him I realized it was not him, but the influences of his negative peers that had him ready to get out."
White said he took the Soldier under his wing.
"I began to continuously mentor him and show him how he could use his Army career to achieve his future goals," said White. "Later, after I left the unit, I got an e-mail from Sgt. Nava thanking me for taking the time to get to know him and show him a different way of thinking. He is just another reason why I continue to serve."
His concern for Soldiers and their well being can be seen in his leadership philosophy.
"As non-commissioned officers, we have the opportunity to assist in molding well-rounded Soldiers for the future of our Army and Corps, and we have the opportunity to transform these young, motivated minds into productive members of society, the leaders of tomorrow," said White.
White eloquently expressed the function of the NCO.
"It is the job of the NCO to take the mission and Soldiers given to them and teach, educate, advise and mentor each young mind through in-depth leadership engagement," White said. "This will fortify the legacy and bond between Soldiers and NCOs, like so many non-commissioned officers that have come before us have done, carrying on the traditions of camaraderie and esprit de corps our honored profession of arms was built upon."
When he's not wearing his uniform, his greatest joy comes from playing with his four daughters, Tiara 13, Zaria 10, Christian 8, Amari 7.
"My favorite hobby is to play with my daughters and let them run me ragged each day when I am with them," said White.
White's other hobbies include going outdoors and enjoying the sights and sounds of mother nature, as well as bowling, skating and reading Log Home Living magazine.
"I want to build my own log home one day," said White.