“You’ve got your spurs on wrong,” said Beth Steele, horseback riding instructor and mother of Lt. Col Jenness Steele, incoming commander for the 2nd "Lobos" Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, as she and her daughter walked up to the 227th Aviation Regiment Maintenance Hangar before the change of command ceremony June 5.
As friends and family members of the battalion gathered at the hangar that morning to celebrate the legacy of the departing commanders and sergeants major, Steele said it was the tough love from her mother that is the key to her success.
“My mom is my rock,” said the younger Steele. “The one thing my mom taught me as a kid was to stand on your own two feet.”
Although as a child, Steele was too small for horseback riding and swimming, her mother never saw it as a reason to quit.
“Tough love came from mom,” the elder Steele said. “For her growing up, it was about setting a goal, because I know you can get there.”
It wasn’t about how quickly her daughter learned things but about instilling the diligence to keep trying even when things got tough.
“It was sort of a shoe in the butt to keep going,” Beth Steele said. “When we hit a brick wall (I taught her to) figure out how to get over it or around it and that’s what it’s always been.”
As Jenness Steele grew up, swimming became her love and she learned about the team experience, her mom said.
“She learned that in a team everybody pulls together,” Beth Steele said. “You’re not the star, just the leader. It’s not all about you, but it’s about everybody else."
Jenness Steele is taking those lessons to her new position at the helm of the Lobos Battalion. She acknowledged that with any change of command comes uncertainty about the new leader. Steele hopes that with her arrival, new ideas will emerge.
“I hope they are excited, ready to move forward and continue take this battalion to the next level,” Jenness Steele said.
“This is the best battalion in the Air Cav,” she said. “This is definitely everything I’ve wanted and worked hard for.”