Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

September 15, 2014 at 4:21pm

1-37 Field Artillery Regiment NCOs focus on leadership, resiliency

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Quintanilla, C Battery, 1-37 37th FA Reg., demonstrates the proper position of an exercise during a Physical Readiness Training refresher course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

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Professional athletes are known for their commitment to excellence. Physicality is only one aspect of their success. In order for the quarterback of a football team to be put his team in the position to win, he has to study his game - which often means that he watches hours of film. 

Similarly, an effective Army leader has to know their own strengths and weaknesses. But how does that leader scrutinize their own performance as a leader and a team member?

For the noncommissioned officers from 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, the answer was Comprehensive Soldier & Family Fitness training. The CSF2 program teaches skills related to resilience and enhanced performance to improve the professional and personal lives of Soldiers and their families.

The NCOs took part in a two-day course on effective leadership development and a Physical Readiness Training refresher course. Topics centered on situations the NCOs would encounter on a day-to-day basis from supplements usage to how adopt a leader philosophy with a heavy emphasis on group participation and discussion.

>>> Sgt. Pierce Burkhart, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, finishes an iteration of the rower during a Physical Readiness Training refresher course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sept. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

"We believe that where the rubber meets the road is with the staff sergeants and the sergeants first class. If we can work with them, we can make a (big impact) within the unit," said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Quintanilla, assigned to C Battery, 1-37 FA. Quintanilla is the battalion master fitness and master resiliency trainer and also an instructor for the PRT portion of the course.

Quintanilla said the NCOs possessed the main of the traits of strong leadership - empathy, confidence, and tactical and technical knowledge, but this training was designed to add to that base. He compared it to tightening a shot group at the weapons range: focused practice breeds meaningful results.

For PRT, he said that it's also important that soldiers understand the reason behind the movements. PRT is designed to mimic combat movements and to prevent injuries. If the movements are done correctly, they have a big impact on the soldier's ability to function in a combat zone with the added weight of their gear.

Additionally, Quintanilla said morning PRT sessions are the perfect opportunity to set the tone for the workday.

"This is how we kick off our day. I feel that if we are doing the right thing at 6:30 am, we'll carry that momentum throughout the rest of the day. We can't start the day by cutting corners," he said.

Quintanilla said more than 19 years into his career and several iterations of the course, he continues to learn from CSF2, his peers and even the most junior soldiers.

Sgt. Zachary Hoffman, an artilleryman with C Battery, 1-37 FA, and one of the NCOs taking the course, found that it was a chance to hear honest critique about his leadership style and to learn new skills for counseling and working with his soldiers.

"I didn't think this training would be that beneficial to me, because I was confident before, but I've learned a lot about communication. On how to be a clear, positive speaker and receiver," said Hoffman.

He said it was important to be flexible. Each member of the team might have an opinion on how to make a mission happen, but the role of the leader is to find the best way and then see that it gets done.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin is with the 19th Public affairs Detachment.

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Raymond White, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, and other noncommissioned officers conduct Physical Readiness Training as part of a two-day leader development course. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

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