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    From New York City to New Mexico: Generations of leadership

    From New York City to New Mexico: Generations of leadership

    Photo By Sgt. Christina Westover | 1st Lt. Morgan Fleming, an armor officer with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Christina Westover 

    Operation Allies Welcome - Operation Allies Refuge

    Some kids fantasize about what they want to be when they grow up. They dream of being firefighters, policemen, ballerinas or even sports stars. Of course, many of these fantasies start with seeing these occupations portrayed on television or even from their parents’ careers.

    1st Lt. Morgan Fleming said she always knew she wanted to be a soldier, as her father was before her. She first decided on becoming a soldier after her father’s actions during 9/11 when she was just 4 years old. Lt. Col. Colin Fleming, the Director of Strategic Communications for the Minnesota National Guard, was in New York City, mere blocks away from the twin towers as they fell.

    “I think one of the best examples of leadership from my father is from 9/11,” said Fleming. “I was very young at the time, but I remember the moment when my mother and I were able to get in touch with him after the incident. He told us he was safe and couldn’t wait to see us again, but then he immediately asked my mother to grab a piece of paper and a pen and start writing down names and numbers. He said, ‘I want you to tell these people that their loved ones are safe.’”

    Immediately after the attacks, most communication equipment in New York City failed. Many people could not get in touch with their family members due to infrastructure damage and cell towers being destroyed.

    “After making sure we knew that he was okay and checking on us, he immediately turned around and helped other people get in contact with their loved ones,” Fleming said. “To give them a sense of peace and comfort in such a chaotic time was true leadership to me.”

    Fleming, an armor officer with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, now serves as the officer in charge of a female engagement team in support of Operation Allies Welcome at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico.

    FETs assist female Afghan guests with navigating their transition to the United States. Fleming shows her leadership skills by communicating with her team to ensure the Afghan evacuees are comfortable and safe.

    “What I do is manage a couple of smaller teams of women,” said Fleming. “Our number one priority is to engage with the women and children, and men as well if they're comfortable speaking to us. We gauge the atmospherics of the camp, or quality of life. We pay attention to the positive and negative tones of whatever's happening and what people need. We just try to make life as comfortable and as enjoyable as it can be out here at Doña Ana.”

    Fleming was notified about the FET’s role in Operation Allies Welcome only days prior to the start of the mission and there was a lot of uncertainty about what their specific tasks would be. She created a schedule to ensure that each team had a proper work-rest cycle so they had some predictability.

    “Lt. Fleming just takes the mission and then instantly starts thinking about the impact,” said 2nd Lt. Rebecca Thompson, another FET leader with 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. “We’ve previously deployed together and I’ve seen her leadership style change as the mission changes. I would say it definitely shows how much she cares about the soldiers. It shows that she's willing to give that forethought and put the soldiers' needs above her own.”

    While Fleming has not been part of a FET in the past, there are many senior noncommissioned officers on her team that have operated in one while deployed.

    “I think my soldiers are getting a lot of perspective,” Fleming said. “We have a few senior NCOs who are really taking the lead on some of the interactions and how often we check in. They’ve been really helpful and have been really good mentors for the rest of us. This mission is very empowering and very purpose driven. I’m seeing a lot of growth and maturity within my team. I think this is one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done in the Army and it's times like these that really solidifies why I joined.”

    Fleming still uses her father’s example for leadership in her everyday life and in her leadership style. She ensures that her soldiers have what they need and that their voices are heard.

    “I want to be like him and emulate so many leadership qualities that he has,” Fleming said. “I think that he creates an environment where people are heard, and good ideas move forward. I admire his ability to be a public servant for other people and now I strive to do the same.”



    Date Taken: 09.17.2021
    Date Posted: 09.20.2021 19:05
    Story ID: 405552
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 
    Hometown: APPLE VALLEY, MN, US

    Web Views: 397
    Downloads: 0