Volume 31 - No. 6

CSM Jerome Jenkins, 50th Brigade

50th Brigade Command CSM: Growth
By Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Jenkins, 50th Brigade

The past couple of years have been very busy and a exciting time for the Soldiers
that I serve with in the 50th Infantry Brigade. A tempo that has touched every member of the Army and Air National Guard around the State. Just to think that 12 of the 13 New Jersey Battalions have been involved in the Global War of Terrorism is a sure indication of how well New Jersey has supported the current military efforts to keep our nation safe.

It is no secret that the Brigade Soldiers were deployed in many areas of operations from Iraq to the Sinai Peninsula and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We currently have Soldiers from the 112th Field Artillery in Germany and Italy who will have missed a second holiday season as they answer our nations call to duty. These Soldiers are doing an outstanding job safe guarding our military communities in Europe.

Soon elements of our newest formation will be joining Operation Iraqi Freedom, as the transformed troop of the 5th Squadron, 117th Cavalry became the 117th Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition for their mobilization. In September, the NJNG was called upon to assist to our great nation and the citizens of New Orleans in their time of need. The Katrina mission was an example of teamwork and jointness as the Army and Air worked together to assist our fellow Americans in the Gulf region.

Although there have been many highs and lows, our Soldiers and Airmen continue to stay on course. Throughout this period, I was fortunate to be able to visit many of the Brigade units and witness a significant growth in our Soldiers, more specifically, corporals, specialists and their front line leaders. Senior NCOs have done an outstanding job preparing our junior enlisted members to function individually, or as a part of a team. In many cases these Soldiers can take charge in the absence of their leaders. I witnessed NCOs like Staff Sgt. Winston Ouckama provide specific guidance to his Soldiers
regarding the Enlisted Promotion System. He addressed all of their individual concerns and gave them a road map of the
courses that they need to continue their progression.

Having the necessary guidance is just the first step. Personal responsibility is just as important. Whether it is signing-up for correspondence courses or making sure that paperwork has been submitted for enrollment in a residence course, Soldiers must follow-up and follow-through with their plans.

Soldiers and Airmen must take charge of their career path. Guard members should be taking advantage of the education benefits our state offers us. Earning a degree ultimately benefits you in uniform, in the workplace and in the community.
The future of the NCO Corps and our state militia depends on our senior NCOs continuing the process of cultivating our Soldiers and Airmen into steady and reliable junior leaders.

Institutional knowledge, proper use of the evaluation systems and intense training on various platforms will assist us in this process.

However, individual guidance, along with care and concern at all levels will provide a foundation to reinforce the process.

© 2006 - NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs