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NEWS | Jan. 12, 2016

1st MSC Officer Professional Development helps officers stay relevant

By Maj. Ruth Castro 1st Mission Support Command

FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico – Every officer knows that there are certain stepping stones they must meet in order to excel in their careers and make it to the next rank. In order to ensure that every commissioned and warrant officer within the 1st Mission Support Command (MSC) knows how to take control of their career, the 1st MSC hosted an Officer Professional Development (OPD) training session Saturday, Jan. 9. The training focused on officer career development and promotions.

“As good leaders, we are responsible for making sure our Soldiers are the best of the best. We have to make sure that the people we are sending into combat are the best qualified to lead,” said Brig. Gen. Jose R. Burgos, commanding general for the 1st MSC. “Hopefully this training session will help guide you to become better as your own career manager. When the time comes, don’t run away from hard jobs, stay relevant and on top of your game and always be the best at your job.”

The OPD included sessions by Brig. Gen. Barbara Owens, deputy commanding general, Human Resources Command; Col. Robert Notch, General Officer Management Office; Lt. Col. William Claybrooks, Army Reserve Career Division; and Officers from 1st MSC, including Col. Toby D. McCoy, command staff judge advocate and Lt. Col. Rafael E. Diaz, command inspector general.

Officers were given pointers in this one-day training on how to ensure their records are up to date -- especially before a promotion board -- and how to ensure that they are actively seeking the assignments and schools needed to ensure they are top candidates for their next promotions. Owens discussed the promotion board process and emphasized the importance of ensuring that records are straight. 

“Make sure you transfer your 2-1/2A to the SRB and visit the Mock Board on the HRC website,” she said. “It is an excellent tool to make you aware of what to expect when you are in that zone of consideration for promotion.”

Owens also highlighted diversity. “It is important and, as minorities, we have to succeed,” said Owens. “Junior officers have to see someone that they can relate to at the senior leader level and, as senior leaders, we have to mentor and encourage our young officer Corps.”

Owens offered some additional guidance to the attendees on how to succeed as an officer. 

“You have to ask yourself, what kind of officer do you want to be?” she said. “Be the Subject Matter Expert [SME], take care of yourself first then teach and mentor others. Remember, someone is always watching.”

Getting to the General Officer (GO) level doesn’t happen by accident, according to Notch. You have to make sure that your records -- to include evaluations and Department of Army Photo -- are up to date and accurate. Notch recommended that senior officers put in for and seek to become a general officer. “The vast majority of the current GOs never thought they would make it to GO,” he said.

One of the main themes for the day was that Officers need to take ownership of their career. They are their own Career Managers and there are several tools available to properly develop themselves in their careers. 

“Officers, it is important that we take ownership of our own careers,” said Burgos. “If we don’t, no one else will. Everyone here has the potential to make it to the GO level but you need to stay on track. You need to check your record and maintain your files.”

Burgos closed the OPD session by reminding everyone present that they need to be aggressive when it comes to their careers. He thanked the more than 120 commissioned and warrant officers present for their attendance and commitment to serving our County and the 1st MSC.

“Thank you for everything you do for our units and their families,” concluded Burgos.