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Look for your own Sergeant Grice

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
What a great Labor Day! The sun was shining and college football kicked off. We took the opportunity to get a few things on the "bucket list" accomplished. Lots of potato chips, hot dogs, brats, wiffle ball and a little bit of basketball, fishing and croquet took place this weekend. We also had the chance to play paintball. If you haven't checked out the course on base, you need to -- 6,000 rounds shot in about two and a half hours! Go see Gary Ross, Teri Carpenter, Erin Brady and Bruce Brown, 90th Force Support Squadron, at outdoor recreation; they will fix you up with everything you need.

Additionally, we carved time out last Sunday to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park and had dinner and ice cream in Estes Park -- both are a must if you haven't explored that part of Colorado yet. We saw a few prize elk that would make those who hunt drool.

However, what I'm most pleased with is our safety program continues to set new records with each passing week. We had a very safe and perfectly executed Labor Day weekend when it comes to the base and missile field operations. Our safety accomplishments are not to be taken lightly. I know it takes engaged leadership at every level. Every dispatch is scrutinized -- as it should be. Everyday leadership is exercised in various levels in the Mighty Ninety. My point is, you may never know the impact you have on others and sometimes you may not find out until many years later. Well done team.

I want to share a story with you from the book, "American Generalship" by Edgar J. Puryear, Jr. In his book he relays a story told by General Shalikashvili about mentorship. Mentorship comes in many forms.

"When I started out, I wanted to be the best second lieutenant around. At the beginning I didn't worry about becoming captain or major or whatever. As a matter of fact, all my life I tried very hard not to think about what I might eventually become. Rather, I tried to concentrate on becoming the very best of the rank I held at any given moment. When I was first commissioned, I was assigned to Alaska and my platoon sergeant was Sergeant Grice. Grice devoted his life to making me the best platoon leader around. Our unit was a mortar battery of the 1st Battle Group, 9th Infantry. Sergeant Grice would come in the morning and say, 'Sir, I've organized that poncho inspection just like you ordered.' I'd look surprised, but Sergeant Grice would take the time to show me just how to conduct such an inspection and what to look for. The next day he would surprise me with something else, but each event was to help me become a better platoon leader. He was such a wonderful man. I wish every second lieutenant could have a Sergeant Grice. He is the one who taught me what caring for my men really entailed. From him I learned the importance of knowing all the ins and outs of my job."

He goes on to say, "And if there is one thing I wish for each and every one of you, it is a Sergeant Grice to teach you about soldiers, about leaders and about responsibilities and joys of soldiering together. Not everyone is as blessed as I was; not everyone finds his Sergeant Grice and many don't, not because he isn't there, but because unknowingly and foolishly they push him away. Look for your Sergeant Grice; NCOs have so very much to teach us."

This is good stuff. I can relate to this in several areas. Thankfully, I have had a few Sergeant Grice's in my time. They sure can make a difference, and most of the time, more than they will ever realize. General Shalikashvili went on to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Like I said, you never know the impact you may have on others.

Go Forth and Conquer!