News: Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe visits 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment
Story by 1st Lt. David Niemczura
MIDDLE EAST - On Oct. 11, the soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment received a visit from Central Command Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe. His visit to our camp in the Middle East covered everything from meeting and greeting soldiers to a discussion with the Battalion command sergeant major of 2-18 FAR, Earl Woods, and his accompanying battery and company first sergeants.
The first order of business was his talk with Command Sgt. Maj. Woods and first sergeants focused on the situational awareness which must be kept while in Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe’s area of responsibility; CENTCOM. That situational awareness is to be used as a focal point around which training is resourced, as training is the key component of the soldiers’ everyday affairs.
Command Sgt. Maj. Woods expressed that in his talks with Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe he felt that Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe is firm believer in the “constant mentorship” mentality which he has undoubtedly used for the majority of his military career as a leader. Command Sgt. Maj. Woods also relayed that Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe stressed the importance of caring for soldiers, which helps build their morale. By asking about the Soldiers’ Rest and Relaxation, Grippe demonstrated that he practices what he preaches.
After that meeting, Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe took a look at the Battalion’s operations center. He was very pleased at the wealth of knowledge that has been amassed by the battalion in order to run their operations. He then received a brief overview of the munitions the battalion uses in the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. The battalion master gunner, Sgt. 1st Class Darin Sharbutt, gave the brief.
Upon completion of the operations visit, Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe took a brief tour around the camp. He was happy to see that the camp has a volleyball court and basketball hoop for soldiers to engage their “esprit de corps."
He then made his way to the gym tent. In the gym tent, he took the time to greet every soldier in the facility. The encounters all started with a handshake and a smile. From there, he began his dialogue with each man, starting with where he is from and ranging anywhere from sports to number of deployments he had been on, to how much the soldier was bench pressing. He did this with every soldier he encountered outside of the gym as well.
Once he had completed his visit to the gym, he made his way over to recognize soldiers who had stood out among their comrades. There were five in total that received recognition, with one designated from each battery/company within the battalion.
He then asked that each soldier’s first sergeant to give him a brief synopsis of the feats that earned them their due respect. As he went down the row he continued to greet each outstanding soldier with the same exuberance he had used with all soldiers he had meet up to this point, same line of questioning included.
Upon each shake, the soldier found in his hand a CENTCOM command sergeant major coin.
I asked one of the soldiers who had received the honor, 69th Forward Support Company’s Specialist Brandon Brice, our Battalion Hero of the Week, what it was like to meet him and replied, “It was nice to meet him, and he also told me to stay focused and remain busy while I’m here.”
After he had finished recognizing the soldiers, Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe took a brief stroll over to the motor pool to view a HIMARS Launcher. Sgt. 1st Class Robert Young, an Alpha Battery platoon sergeant, had one of his launcher crews awaiting the command sergeant major's arrival. The crew gave him a brief overview of the launcher’s capabilities and then took him inside the cab of the vehicle by the launcher’s crew chief, Staff Sgt. James Long. Staff Sgt. Long gave him a brief rundown of the operational aspects of the vehicle, which seemed to spark the command sergeant major's interest.
After the overview the HIMARS was complete, Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe had one last opportunity to address Command Sgt. Maj. Woods and the first sergeants. He had one last nugget of information to share with the non-commissioned officer leadership. It was to remember the old adage of the three Ms. That is the mission, the men and me.
With that said, Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe departed the camp. His visit left an indelible mark on the soldiers and leaders of the 2-18 FAR. This mark, so it seems, will provide foresight for the coming months and possibly a lifetime.
Date Posted:10.14.2012 07:24
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