By Sgt. Maria L. Asenbrener

69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade public affairs

The senior noncommissioned officers and officers of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade attended a leadership professional development class July 20 at Club Hood.

The class was a vision of Col. James H. Jenkins III, former brigade commander. He relinquished command of the brigade to Col. Randy McIntire on July 22.

During the class, Jenkins brought in several retired combat veterans who could share their experiences and perspectives on leadership with the senior members of the brigade.

The underlying theme addressed time and time again by the veterans was the concept that crafts a strong and competent leader. Through the veterans' stories and guidance, the leaders of the brigade were inspired and challenged with ideas that will test the boundaries and methods of their leadership styles.

One concept stressed was standards. Retired Lt. Gen. Bob Jones, a Vietnam veteran, placed importance on making sure leaders first establish standards and then enforce those standards. Knowing the standards that accompany soldiers' tactical and technical aspects of their jobs will make them competent and, in return, build confidence, he said.

Along with standards comes training. Retired Col. Otto Scharth, a World War II veteran, said it was important soldiers train in the same environment in which they fight. This proved to be an important asset to Scharth and his fellow troops during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, when the temperatures were often below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not only is the training of lower-enlisted troops important, but the training of officers is important as well. It is a noncommissioned officer's responsibility to train the young officers who enter a unit.

"If you are a good officer, you probably have a good NCO," Jones said.

Another aspect of leadership that is important is having the will to sacrifice. During times of war, death is often close. A situation can go from calm to chaos in a matter of moments, and a leader must be able to make the hard decisions and do what others often won't.

"When everyone else takes cover, you take action," said retired Col. Vincent Tedesco, a Vietnam veteran.

Tedesco stressed the importance of leading from the front. He told leaders to be willing to take any risk they would expect their soldiers to take. An attribute such as this will earn a leader respect, and if troops respect their leader, they will also take care of their leader, he added.

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