JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. –
The U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division recently held a Non-Commissioned Officer Forum at its headquarters here as a means to keep the lines of communication open and build camaraderie within the NCO ranks.
“We are humble professionals who have this great opportunity to bond together to create an organization of honest and transparent communication with seniors, peers and subordinates alike,” said Sgt. Maj. Nicholas Vance, G3 Operations sergeant mjor, 99th RD. “These types of forums will develop further knowledge, skills and attributes within our team.”
Education and strengthening skills as an NCO are important for professional development. Sgt. Kelvin Santiago-Navarro is one of very few junior-enlisted Soldiers assigned to the 99th RD. He is always the first to volunteer when tasks arise, and sees it as prospect to develop his skills as a Soldier as well as an NCO.
“Taking the lead as the non-commissioned officer-in-charge as a junior-enlisted NCO is a great learning experience, even when it’s something as simple as physical readiness training,” said Santiago-Navarro, G3 Operations NCO, 99th RD. “It’s a huge step for me, but I know I’m showing initiative and hopefully it’ll motivate other NCOs to want to do the same.”
Information sharing and training is typically the reasoning behind these types of mediums. While this holds truth, for Vance the ability to rally and become one united front while building professional relationships is a key component to getting to know who you work, with both in and out of uniform.
“Open discussions are a grand way to hear from other NCOs on their perspective from their foxholes and at home. It provides opportunity for all to participate while providing an opening for our NCOs to further educate their Soldiers; not necessarily just for this unit, but for follow-on assignments as well,” explained Vance.
The forum is designed to be a discussion among one another, honing skills while sharing knowledge and experiences throughout each person’s military career.
“I feel that the NCO Forum is a great addition to the 99th RD NCO battle rhythm,” said Santiago-Navarro. “It gives us the opportunity to interact with NCOs from different sections and allows us to bounce ideas off one another.”
Conversations are not solely focused on assigned missions. NCOs are able to break the monotony of daily operations and converse among each other about life and life experiences while serving in the Army Reserve, and are able to apply what they learn to apply it both in and out of uniform.
“The NCOs of this organization must seek to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I want to know how our fellow NCOs are taking care of themselves outside of the workplace. We must understand the environment we are in and take advantage of family time. We must set our priorities by working hard while at work and have the ability to turn it off while at home,” explained Vance.