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Sergeant major shuffle: 13th Sustainment Command’s top NCOs reassigned

Updated

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

Command Sgts. Maj. Terry Fountain, Mark Joseph and Nathaniel Bartee have 80 years of military experience between them.

All three were born in the South and all have held some of the top senior noncommissioned officer posts in the 13th Sustainment Command. But most importantly, and perhaps the keys to their successes, is that each are married to current or former noncommissioned officers: retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jackeline Fountain, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Annette Joseph and Sgt. 1st Class Pamela Bartee.

The 13th Sustainment Command saw a mighty reshuffling of senior noncommissioned officers last week as Bartee moved from the 180th Transportation Battalion to the 15th Sustainment Brigade, Joseph moved from the 15th Sustainment Brigade to 13th Sustainment Command and Fountain moved from the 13th Sustainment Command to III Corps.

Fountain said Joseph was the right choice because the 13th Sustainment needs someone who understands the unique structure of the command.

The 13th Sustainment, the post’s third-largest unit, has always fought for a spot at the table among the likes of the 1st Cavalry and 4th Infantry. Leaders in the 13th have spent great efforts to get people to understand the command’s makeup and capabilities.

COMMAND SGT. MAJ. NATHANIEL BARTEE SR.

Bartee is a 41-year-old native of Quitman, Ga. He enlisted in 1985 and attended basic and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., according to information from the brigade.

His wife is a soldier in III Corps.

Bartee has served in units across Fort Hood including:

Heavy vehicle driver, Headquarters and Headquarter Detachment, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment;

Heavy vehicle driver, Alpha Company, 92nd Field Artillery Battery, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Armor Division;

Senior vehicle driver, Bravo Company, 27th Main Support Battalion, Division Support Command, 1st Cavalry Division;

Senior vehicle driver, 2nd Heavy Equipment Transport Company, 180th Transportation Battalion;

Assistant truckmaster, 2nd Heavy Equipment Transport Company, 180th Transportation Battalion;

Research, Developmental, Test and Evaluation noncommissioned officer, Operational Test Command;

Operations and plans senior noncommissioned officer, 13th Sustainment Command;

Senior noncommissioned officer, 180th Transportation Battalion.

Bartee is a battle-proven and battle-hardened soldier, said Col. Larry Phelps, commander of the 15th Sustainment or “Wagonmaster” Brigade.

The Army’s noncommissioned corps “truly is America’s self-renewing resource,” the colonel said, referring to Joseph’s departure and Bartee’s arrival.

Phelps welcomed the Bartee to the brigade, saying he did phenomenal work in the 180th Transportation Battalion.

“Take charge of the brigade, lead it well and it will perform,” he said. “These soldiers are that good. All they need is a great leader at the helm, and we know you are that great leader. Hold on tight — we are in for a sporty ride.”

COMMAND SGT. MAJ. MARK D. JOSEPH

Joseph was born in Lake Charles, La., and enlisted in June 1981 in Houston. Like Bartee, he attended basic and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood.

He has deployed three times — once during Desert Storm/Shield and twice to Iraq — and has been assigned to a variety of Fort Hood units, most of them with the 13th Sustainment. Those include:

Charlie Company, 62nd Engineer Battalion, 13th Support Command;

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 664th Ordnance Company, 553rd Corps Support Battalion, 13th Corps Support Command;

418th Transportation Company, 13th Corps Support Command;

Logistics assistant chief of staff senior noncommissioned officer, 1st Cavalry Division;

Senior noncommissioned officer, 115th Forward Support Battalion;

Senior noncommissioned officer, 15th Sustainment Brigade.

Joseph said he has changed as a soldier and leader during his time with the 15th.

“I’ve developed a greater understanding of what true sustainment/support to our forces really means, how we as logisticians fit into the support role and I’ve gained more knowledge of how our Army has evolved in so many areas over the years,” he said.

In Joseph’s and Bartee’s change of responsibility ceremony on Friday, Phelps said the event was a celebration for noncommissioned officers, by noncommissioned officers.

“It celebrates what is best and most important about our Army and our unit: our senior NCOs and the unique and special contributions,” Phelps said.

Under Joseph’s leadership, the brigade underwent the greatest period of change and productivity in its history, Phelps said. The unit returned from Iraq with the 1st Cavalry and transition from a division support command to a sustainment brigade.

“Under lesser leadership, this could have been extremely painful,” Phelps said. “But CSM Joseph made it look almost effortless.”

The colonel had this to say about his departing battle buddy: “Mark, words are not enough to describe how I have leaned on you and relied on you so I won’t try. As I said at your farewell last week, you are one of the five NCOs that have made me the officer and soldier that I am, and I thank God for your service and friendship.”

Joseph said it was an honor and privilege to serve with past and present soldiers in the “best sustainment brigade in the Army.”

“This is evident in the assistance and best practices that we are called upon to provide to other sustainment brigades across the Army,” he sad.

Bartee is an outstanding noncommissioned officer, Joseph said, and his only advice was for him to continue to be himself and do what he does best.

Since enlisting in the Army more than 25 years ago, Joseph has grown spiritually, mentally, emotionally and professionally.

“I see things from a larger perspective and I know there are so many options and opportunities to get it right,” he said.

A command sergeant major’s biggest role today is to be the “spine in the midst of the backbone of the Army,” Joseph said.

“I believe we as CSMs should always bring to the table, if nothing else, common sense, renewed mind and a heart for soldiers.”

In moving to the 13th, Joseph said his goal was to be the best senior enlisted advisor, soldier and battle buddy that he could while appreciating the “enormous contributions and huge foot prints of so many other great senior NCOs that have paved the way for me.”

COMMAND SGT. MAJ. TERRY FOUNTAIN

Fountain switched from the chemical field in 1980, two years after enlisting as a telecommunications center specialist. He as born in Atlanta.

Fountain has deployed four times: Desert Shield/Storm and three times to Iraq. His assignments in Central Texas include Fort Hood operations and plans senior noncommissioned officer, 2nd Chemical Battalion senior noncommissioned officer and 13th Corps Distribution Command senior noncommissioned officer.

Fountain followed his older brother into the Army. Gerry and Terry are twins — Gerry is six minutes older. They are the youngest of 10 children and the only ones to join the military. They enlisted because they wanted to get out of Atlanta.

“We wanted something better for ourselves,” Fountain said.

Gerry, who Fountain considers his role model, retired four years ago as a command sergeant major at Fort Leonard Wood. Another soldier in Fountain’s life, his wife Jackeline, was also a soldier, retiring last year after serving at Fort Hood’s garrison senior noncommissioned officer. She was the first woman to hold that position.

Gerry, Terry and Jackeline served together as drill sergeants at Fort McCullen, Ala.

“I give a lot (of credit) to my wife,” Fountain said. “She’s my heart.”

In Fountain’s time in the Army, what he found most rewarding were the humanitarian missions the 13th Sustainment Command supported in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Fountain has deployed numerous times and served tours in foreign countries, but the short deployment just one state over from Texas hit home for him.

“That’s our own people,” he said.

Fountain leaves the 13th Sustainment Command for III Corps. He wasn’t definite on a position, he said on Oct. 15, but if nothing opened up by next year, he would retire. Though it’s an option, he isn’t ready for it yet.

“I think I still have something to give them,” he said while sitting in his bare office in 13th Sustainment headquarters.

Fountain’s and Joseph’s change of responsibility ceremony was Friday.

With two days to go until the ceremony, Fountain said he has matured as a listener since beginning to serve in units’ top enlisted positions. Knowing how to deal with different people is key, he said.

“If you don’t know people, you can’t deal with soldiers,” he said.

The most important thing, Fountain learned, is to change with the people and change with the times. A lot of seasoned noncommissioned officers will say they are “old school,” he said.

“I’m not.”

In the old-school way of doing things, soldiers wouldn’t talk to command sergeant majors. Senior noncommissioned officers have to change with the system and know the reasons people are enlisting in the Army today. Demographics of incoming soldiers are changing and leaders shouldn’t see change as a burden, but a reflection of society, Fountain said.

“It was a great ride,” Fountain said of his time in the 13th. “I learned a lot. I grew.”

Fountain’s advice to Joseph was to “always be where soldiers are at.” It’s not always easy because of the added responsibilities that come with top positions, but “try to get out to them. See what they are doing.”

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547.

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