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1st TSC conducts second annual NCO symposium

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Noncommissioned officers of 1st Theater Sustainment Command held a three-day symposium at the General George Patton Museum Aug. 28-30 to allow for an open-forum of professional informative discussion.

The event was the second time 1st TSC has “taken a knee” to reflect on where they are as an organization and where they fit into the overarching Army structure.

Command Sgt. Major Jason Willett, senior enlisted advisor for the command and creator of the symposium, listed three major keywords as focal points for the event: Lead; learn; and inspire.

Willett said one thing he wanted Soldiers to take away from the event is an understanding of the command’s progression since making the transition from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a year ago.

“I think it’s very important to take the time to see where we came from and to know the units’ history,” Willett said.

Willett said he also wanted Soldiers to reflect on leadership. He shared some of his own leadership philosophy by paraphrasing a quote by former President John Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

“I work for every Soldier,” Willett said. “I am here to learn from them.”

Willett said he thinks in order to be a successful leader, one needs to do “less transmitting and more receiving.”

Willett said he knows 1st TSC Soldiers have a wide range of experience, from the newly promoted sergeant to the seasoned sergeant major, and he wants to build future leaders from among them.

“I want to be able to inspire others,” Willett said. “Inspiration is so underrated in today’s Army.”

Willett has one long-term goal he hopes will come to fruition.

“We have over 100 NCOs here today,” Willett said. “My hope is if 20 to 30 of these Soldiers in this room stay in the Army and become a sergeant major, they give back and do a symposium of their own. Then we have achieved a success.”

Sergeant Justin Jones, plans and operations for the G-1, said the symposium has given him insight on the mentality of other noncommissioned officers like himself.

“No matter what level you’re on, you’re constantly learning,” Jones said. “You learn from peers, seniors or even subordinates [by] listening and communicating.”

Jones said he feels the symposium allows him to process mentally how he looks at his junior Soldiers, and how he can bring them up to a level of achievement greater than where they currently are.

“I want to empower my subordinates,” Jones said. “I need to get them to think on the level that I want them to become. I do that by communicating my intent.”

The symposium began with a ceremony, during which the unit inducted seven of its newest noncommissioned officers into the corps. Sergeant Maj. Edward Bell, deputy chief of staff, G-4, was the keynote speaker of the event. He is the former command sergeant major of 1st TSC when the unit was located at Fort Bragg. Bell emphasized that the noncommissioned officer is the strength of the Army.

“You are the one they call the backbone,” Bell said. “You are the one they call the lifeblood of the organization. All around the world, you are admired, respected and depended upon to be the difference in our success or failure.

“To lead means to be present, to be engaged, to be loyal, and to be committed to your Soldiers.”

The unit is planning a third symposium next year. n