Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
transitioning from the lower enlisted ranks to becoming a
noncommissioned officer (NCO) are among the most important people in
the Army as they prepare to lead the organization into the future,
said Command Sgt. Maj. Leon E. Caffie.
Command Sgt. Maj. Leon E. Caffie,
the Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve, speaks to
graduates of the NCO Academy Warrior Leader Course at Fort
(Photo by Val Hyde)
the Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve, was the guest speaker
at the Fort McCoy NCO Academy Warrior Leader Course graduation March
are part of the select elite who have the opportunity to attend this
course," Caffie said. "I need you more than I needed you
before, because I cannot do this job by myself. … I can set a tone,
but I cannot get out in the trenches and do the work that you are
required to do."
need you in order for this organization to succeed and grow and to
continue to flourish in the future as the backbone of the Army,"
return, Caffie told the graduates, he would make their training
challenging and take them down a path that hasn’t been traveled down
before. NCOs need to know how to write and to communicate effectively,
think under pressure and know they will succeed or fail with their
buddies in the foxholes with them.
also discussed challenges the Army faces, such as gender bias and
racism, he said. "The enemy doesn’t care if you are male or
female," Caffie said. "They know you are an American citizen
and stand for a certain democratic policy that doesn’t look great
help NCOs accomplish their mission, the Army must sustain a fair and
honest system, uphold the seven Army Values and maintain Army
standards, Caffie said.
will face many obstacles, and Caffie said he will help NCOs give
everything they can give.
have been where you are sitting today on a different set of
standards," he said. "I’ve felt no one cared about me. They
saw me as a nuisance, not as an asset. I see you as an asset because
without you I don’t have an Army Reserve. Without you I don’t have
an Army National Guard. I need your talent."
Personnel from the NCO Academy
Warrior Leader Course listen to Command Sgt. Maj. Leon E. Caffie
speak at their graduation ceremony.
(Photo by Val Hyde)
said NCOs need to step forward to say they are part of the greatest
Army in the world.
army has an NCO Corps like the U.S. Army, he said. When he meets with
NATO counterparts during his travels, Caffie said the first thing they
ask is how we develop our NCO Corps to make the split-second decisions
necessary to lead Soldiers.
said he tells them the U.S. Army trusts its NCOs and prepares its
hold you to a certain set of standards. Those standards were
formulated way before I became a sergeant," he said.
vision for reserve-component Soldiers and NCOs can be summed up by the
results of the last Best Warrior Competition.
the first years of the competition, the Army funneled the Reserve
competitors through the U.S. Army Forces Command competition, from
which they didn’t advance to the Army-level competition. Caffie said
he decided to upset the apple cart and change things a little bit by
going to the Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz and
telling him he wanted to go plead his case directly to the Sergeant
Major of the Army.
with his National Guard counterpart, Caffie went to the Sergeant Major
of the Army to make the case that the Reserve and National Guard
winners were worthy of going directly to the Army-level competition
and to break through the glass ceiling.
(the Sergeant Major of the Army) was apprehensive, but he said ‘OK’
with the expectation that we would have marginal performance,"
Caffie said. "That we wouldn’t be as strong as they were. That
we would not do as well as they (active-duty) did."
first year, Army Reserve Soldiers did OK, but Caffie accepted full
responsibility to Stultz for his Soldiers not being optimally prepared
to compete in the competition and vowed it wouldn’t happen again.
2008, the breakthrough came at Fort McCoy. He told entrants the
training in the competition was tough and that some of them wouldn’t
make it because he was looking for the best.
faith paid off at the Association of the U.S. Army ceremony announcing
the winners of the Army-level event.
an NCO from the Army National Guard won the NCO of the Year title.
Then an Army Reserve Soldier, Spc. David Obray, who advanced to the
competition by winning the Army Reserve Soldier of the Year
competition at Fort McCoy, won the Army-level competition as the
Soldier of the Year.
I asked for was to give my Soldiers the opportunity to compete at that
level," Caffie said. "Because we have arrived."
because of you, I do what I do," he said. "I talk to members
of Congress. I fight for the needs of the Reserve."
said he continues to move ahead on issues for the Reserve Soldiers,
including fighting to get them the medical care they need through