September 11, 2016 –
September 11th is a day of remembrance for many. For one Army Reservist, it is now also a day of honor and new beginnings.
In front of family, friends, Soldiers, and mentors, Col. Miles A. Davis, a resident of Livonia, Michigan, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and assumed command of the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) in two separate ceremonies on September 11, 2016 at Fort Benning’s National Infantry Museum.
Davis, an Infantry officer who is known as a decisive leader, and focused on readiness, stood out among his peers, said Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen, commander of the 108th Training Command (IET), who presided over the ceremonies.
“This is atypical for a newly minted brigadier general to be placed in command, but knowing Miles’ record, it is clear why the Secretary of the Army recommended Miles’ promotion to the President of the United States.”
McQueen continued to explain that making the rank of brigadier general was an honor that required high levels of scrutiny.
“There are just under a million Soldiers in our Army today, in fact, less than one percent of Americans are currently serving in our Armed Forces. In the Army Reserve, there are nearly 200,000 Soldiers. Of that, 115 are general officers, where 80 are brigadier generals.”
As the commander of the 98th Training Division (IET), Davis is responsible for the oversight and direction of four brigades totaling over 2,500 Soldiers throughout the east coast and Puerto Rico. The primary mission of the Army Reserve division headquartered at Fort Benning is to provide drill sergeants to Army Training Centers, which in turn, impacts new Soldiers entering all Army components: Active, Reserve, and National Guard.
Davis is not new to the initial entry training mission though. In fact, Davis has served in several levels of leadership throughout the command from company command to battalion operations to brigade command, said McQueen.
“Miles comes to us with a track record of success and is well versed in the mission of the 98th Training Division having commanded 2nd Brigade.”
The mission of providing the drill sergeants who mold the Army’s future Soldiers is critical, and since September 11th, it is even more vital, said Davis. “Our drill sergeants turn civilians into agile, adaptive Soldiers who can win in this complex world we live in.”
The complexity of world affairs was a widely discussed topic during both the promotion and assumption of command ceremonies since they corresponded with the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The fact that I was promoted and took command on this day, of all days, makes this honor extra special, said Davis.
“It’s definitely a day of remembrance, but it’s also a day that we can look forward to with optimism when we see the likes of the Soldiers and the civilians who are becoming Soldiers. It gives us all kinds of hope and excitement about the future.”
September 11th is not a day easily forgotten, said several of the Soldiers in the ceremony formation. Comments ranging from, ‘It’s the reason I joined’ to ‘I deployed right after that’ could be heard among the Soldiers as they reflected on the tragic events of September 11, 2001. An overall theme prevailed throughout the troops though – every time they put on their uniforms, they are reminded of why they serve.
Being a drill sergeant who trains future Soldiers is something Davis’ Soldiers take very seriously, said Sgt. Markkus Brinson, a drill sergeant from Alpha Company, 3/485th Regiment Battalion.
“[Being a Soldier] is not something that you just come into and play around with…It’s more than just being a Soldier. It’s actually taking that job and running with it. It’s making sure that you know how important it is.”
The 98th can easily claim that their drill sergeants are serious and among the best since one of their drill sergeants, Sgt. Ryan Moldovan, won the coveted title of 2016 Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year on September 9 at a competition in Fort Jackson.
Davis, whose previous position was chief of staff with the 412th Engineer Command, said he expects this level of success from his Soldiers who play a key role in creating the military’s leaders of tomorrow.
“Our drill sergeants set the standards for Soldiers to take forth. Years from now, those Soldiers will be sergeant majors or officers, and it is our drill sergeants who give them that first impression. That is why what we do is so important.”
Leaving that fingerprint on future leaders is a serious mission, and we are reminded of that importance, as we reflect on September 11th, said McQueen.
“We must continue to work together and push our Nation and Army to even greater heights, united. Always pushing forward, as we remember the past.”
So as the division Soldiers welcomed their new commander on such an important day, McQueen said he had no doubt that Davis was ready.
“The Army has selected Brig. Gen. Davis for this job, and I think they have the right person to help this division continue the 98th on the road to greatness.”