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By Example: ‘Always be a leader’

By Jennifer Mattson

NCO Journal

Jan. 22, 2013

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Staff Sgt. Andrew Dugger, a water treatment specialist assigned to A Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, inspects the tie down chains for potable water blivets Sept. 10 at Fort Drum, N.Y. (Photo by Spc. Candace Foster)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Dugger served eight and a half years with the Marines, deploying to Afghanistan after 9/11 and later to Iraq. He joined the Army to continue to work toward a military retirement. Since joining the Army in 2005, he has served as a recruiter, Master Resilience Trainer and in his primary occupational specialty as a 92W water treatment specialist.

How do you set the example for your Soldiers?

The best example I’m able to set is to do what I’m supposed to do and be where I’m supposed to be. My Soldiers are a reflection of me. Whatever I do, I know they are going to emulate that, whether it’s good or bad. So I always try to portray a positive image.

What advice do you pass onto your Soldiers?

I tell them that they have to gain as much knowledge as they can — as much as for themselves as for their Soldiers. I encourage them to go to as many military schools as they can and pursue civilian education. As leaders, they should never forget that they need to take care of their own careers. It’s too easy to get so caught up being a leader and taking care of your Soldiers’ careers that you forget to take care of your own. For example, you might be so caught up in maintaining your Soldiers’ records that you forget to take care of your own and, in the process, you might be passed up for promotion.

How has Army training helped you?

Army training has helped me develop as a leader by allowing me to go to a variety of military schools. The Army has also put me in a variety of challenging assignments, allowing me to gain knowledge and a variety of different skill sets. On recruiting duty, it got me to talk to people in different ways. In Master Resilience Training, it gave me the big picture and how to address those situations by having a positive outlook.

How have other NCOs helped your career?

When I first came into the Army, I came in as an E-5. Staff Sgt. Martin had told me to learn as much as I can about the Army regulations and live the NCO Creed. Another, Sgt. 1st Class Teleforo, told me to always be who I say I am. NCOs like that are always pushing you to do better and be better than who you are.

What would you like to see adopted in the Army?

I would like to see the Army use more drill and ceremony. It shows that Soldiers are capable of a variety of tasks and gives NCOs the opportunity to have a sense of command and control over their element. If Soldiers have an understanding of obedience to orders, that allows new NCOs to become comfortable giving commands and seeing those commands executed. It builds and shows the discipline of the unit. But most of all, it shows a sense of pride in the unit.

What advice do you have for other NCOs?

A lot of NCOs might focus on the Soldier who’s doing the wrong thing. Though you have to take care of the wayward Soldiers, you also have to focus on commending the Soldiers who deserve it. Always be who you say you are. Always be a leader of Soldiers. Always set the standard and be that standard-bearer. Know that whatever we do as NCOs, someone is watching us; whatever we’re displaying, that’s what our Soldiers will see. So it’s important to always maintain that positive image. If you’re a noncommissioned officer, then that’s who you are — you’re a leader. We should always lead by example.

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