NEWS | Oct. 11, 2021

A Few Extra Hours: What it Costs to Gain Leadership Skills

By Maj. William Wratee 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command

                                                                        

Beaumont, TX -  Maj. Phillip Larmond has a demanding part-time job in the United States Army Reserve. He serves as the Executive Officer (XO) for the US Army Reserve's 373rd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion in Beaumont, TX, his responsibilities require a little more than the traditional 'one weekend a month and two weeks a year.’ In his role, he must exercise command in the battalion commander's absence and serve as the senior member of the battalion's staff, but he is okay with that. 

"Being an XO is challenging because you have to balance managing staff and handling Soldier issues," Phillip says, "but it's all made me a better leader, lawyer, and small business owner.” The 373rd CSSB is a modular USAR unit that can support between one and three brigade-sized formations - 9,000 to 15,000 Soldiers.

The 373rd CSSB's combat responsibilities encompasses transportation operations, maintenance operations, supply operations, field services, and mission command tasks. 

Prior to each 373rd CSSB monthly battle assembly Phillip has at least two conference calls, the first of which is with the Battalion Commander where they set the priorities for battle assembly weekend. For example, the priorities for September battle assembly included vehicle maintenance and weapons cleaning. Phillip then works with battalion staff on a second conference call to resolve personnel issues and identify any issues that will require the Commander's attention.  

When he is not serving as a logistics officer and XO for the 373rd CSSB, Phillip works in yet another demanding occupation as an attorney in Houston, Texas where he serves as a managing partner at his law firm.

"Being a logistics officer is about planning and accountability. Whether that's managing people, money, or materials, when you translate those skills to your civilian career, you have the ability to preserve your capital, whether that is people or money," Phillip says. 

Phillip says one of his roles as a leader is to "help younger Soldiers assimilate and assist seasoned Soldiers in growth." He went on to say that "growth can come from good and bad experiences. As a Soldier, individual growth is a part of assuming more responsibility. As the mission expands, leaders must keep up, moving their people and resources in the right direction." 

Phillip's understanding of leadership has developed over a long career. He spent his first nine years of service as an enlisted soldier, rising to the rank of  Staff Sergeant, before he attended law school at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. As a commissioned officer, he commanded at the company level and recently served as the 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's (ESC) Liaison to Army North's Task Force 51 during the federal response to COVID-19. 

TF-51 is Army North's contingency command post that provided multi-component sustainment services to the military medical teams deployed as part of a Department of Defense COVID-19 response operation.   When asked about the pros and cons of serving in the Army Reserves, Phillip says, "You have to put in a few extra hours most days while balancing your civilian career. But the outcome, the skills gained, and the people you meet make it all worth it."

The 373rd CSSB is a subordinate command of the 211th Regional Support Group (RSG) in Corpus Christi, Texas. The 211th RSG is one of the 4th ESC four brigade-sized elements. The 4th ESC is comprised of soldiers, civilians, and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. As part of America's Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready, and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.