August 11, 2016 –
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- At Marshall Hall, in the United States Army Reserve Command headquarters a July 22 retirement celebration was attended by colleagues, friends, Families and mentors to honor the service of Col. Charles E. Newbegin, U.S. Army Reserve director of training, and Sgt. Maj. Paul J. Klikas, operations and training noncommissioned officer in charge.
Maj. Gen. Megan P. Tatu, Army Reserve chief of staff, spoke of Newbegin and Klikas’ character and achievements.
“For a Soldier to achieve, and I use that word purposefully ... for a Soldier to achieve retirement means that they have successfully dedicated themselves, for the better part of their adult lives, to the profession of arms,” said Tatu. “It’s an honor to be a part of the recognition of their careers.”
Both Soldiers had experiences early in their careers that showed them how to be capable leaders.
In 1989, Klikas, at the time a private first class serving in Germany as a convoy escort to the American ambassador, helped to return citizenship to people from Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Being a part of something historical and great leadership and mentors made a lasting impact on his career, but he said his command sergeant major provided him with the foundation for him to understand what ‘right’ looks like.
The same could be said for Newbegin. His first leadership opportunity was as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy. At West Point, he was empowered to become a better leader by leading military exercises at Fort Bliss, Texas, and serving as a lieutenant in an artillery unit at Fort Still, Oklahoma. He learned what was acceptable and unacceptable for leadership.
“That’s what it’s all about — taking care of the Soldiers,” Newbegin said. “Don’t tolerate toxic personnel or workplaces.”
To emphasize some of the most meaningful lessons he learned during his career, Klikas keeps two mementos — a letter and a book.
In 2002, Klikas, while deployed, received a personal letter from a Soldier in the Iraqi Noncommissioned Officer Corps. When overseas Klikas’ mission was to help train and develop the Soldier, and the entire corps, into noncommissioned officers.
In 2005, Klikas became aware of the lack of respect for a fallen Soldier’s remains and through adversity, he changed laws and policy to ensure proper honors were rendered not only to that Soldier, but to all future fallen Soldiers. The book, a memoir of the Iraqi soldier’s life and sacrifice, is from the Family of that fallen Soldier.
Reflecting on the ends of their careers, Klikas and Newbegin’s final measures of service demonstrate the type of leaders that they were in the Army.
Klikas, during his final deployment to Afghanistan, said his knowledge of his standards of procedure and passion for taking care of his Soldiers were instrumental in his ability to serve his troops as a sergeant major.
Newbegin’s most recent command was as an active-duty Soldier and the U.S. Army Reserve director of training. He was taught, and in turn tried to teach, the perspective between active duty and Reserve Soldiers.
Klikas knows what it takes to be a good leader.
“It’s evident when Soldiers see someone who shows them someone who cares,” said Klikas. “At one time or another, you’re going to have to put your rank on the ground and possibly leave it there, to take care of Soldiers,” he said.
“We depend on one another, and we work together to accomplish the mission.” Tatu said. “They are battle buddies through the end of their career and they exemplify what an officer and NCO should look like.”