Story and photo by Sgt. Breanne Pye
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, commander held a Command Leadership Forum for all current and future “Raider” company commanders at Glen Eyrie Conference Center Oct. 27 to provide them with resources, tools and systems necessary for successful commands at home station.
The seminar was Col. Joel Tyler’s first step in sharing his vision to prepare leadership at every level to conduct full-spectrum operations anywhere in the world, after a decade of continuous training cycles geared specifically to deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The intent of the training was to bring the brigade’s company level leadership together to conduct effective and efficient operations at home station, said Tyler.
“Many of our junior officers and leaders have … experience operating in a combat environment,” said Capt. Jason LeVay, assistant brigade planner. “Many have never held command in a home station environment, where the mission requires a completely different knowledge base.”
LeVay said the seminar offered a diverse range of speakers and classes, with experts from within the brigade as well as from outside community resources.
Commanders were given an in-depth look at some of the key systems in a home station unit that many of them were unfamiliar with, said LeVay. They received training on a variety of topics from command and supply discipline, to maintenance, personnel, legal issues, equal opportunity and behavioral health.
“One of the brigade commander’s top priorities is making sure that commanders have the tools they will need in order to exercise proper command and supply discipline,” said LeVay. “That means being able to keep track of all their equipment, conduct proper maintenance on that equipment and know the proper channels to go through in order to put the equipment to use.”
LeVay said bringing all the commanders together in one place and offering them all a baseline of tools and resources will ensure they are able to maintain one set standard across the board, and use each other’s expertise and experience to maintain and build on that standard in the future.
“During deployment, each command team was responsible for a specific part of the battlefield, a specific set of equipment or a specific aspect of Soldier readiness,” said LeVay. “The leadership forum was an opportunity for many of the brigade’s leaders to meet one another for the first time and to open a dialogue that will allow them to combine that knowledge in order to operate as one solid team.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, Raider Brigade’s new senior enlisted leader, spoke to leaders about establishing a new command climate that projects resiliency to its Soldiers to achieve maximum retention of their knowledge and skills and create an environment that easily integrates new Soldiers.
“Change is a good thing for an organization; it brings energy to the team and keeps leadership fresh and energized,” said Defreese. “Come into your command with a lot of new energy, and don’t be afraid to enact change.”
Part of the brigade command’s change is focusing on partnerships within the community to build Soldier resiliency.
During the forum, representatives from community behavioral health as well as the Colorado Springs Police Department spoke with leaders on working together to mitigate negative factors they face while Soldiers integrate back into the community after returning from a combat deployment.
“One of the most interesting parts of the seminar for me was having a police officer from the CSPD come in and talk about some of the issues our Soldiers are facing off post,” said Capt. Edwin Pierce, brigade medical planner.
“The officer spoke to us about preventive measures we, as leaders, can take in order to keep our Soldiers out of trouble when they are interacting within the community during their off time,” said Pierce. “It was great to see we have outside resources available that are willing to work with our chain of command on mitigating some of the problems and risk factors our Soldiers face in their home unit after multiple deployments.”
Pierce said he learned a great deal from the day’s classes and speakers and that he hoped to go even more in-depth in future training seminars.
“This was the initial icebreaker training for our brigade leadership, to focus them in on the commander’s intent and the brigade’s new mission as we shift from combat operations to home-station operations,” said LeVay. “We will be conducting future forums (that) will focus on different aspects of training to include management operations, tactical training and follow-up training based off of the attending commanders’ collective after-action reviews.”
Pierce said this initial forum succeeded in establishing a solid foundation to build a strong command environment as the brigade moves into a new mission with new leadership.
“We all received the same resources in this training, which is important, because all commands share the same kinds of issues and challenges,” said Pierce. “When it comes to training and operating in a home-station environment, we are one team, which shares one set of core responsibilities.
“This type of forum was an opportunity for that team of current and future commanders to come together and cross-communicate. We are coming away from this training with all the tools and resources we need to achieve an A-plus command.”