Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Satisfaction of Ceremonies

On Saturday, 14 May I had the honor and pleasure of attending the Assumption of Command Ceremony for the 14th PSYOP Bn held at the new US Army Reserve Center at Moffett Federal Airfield, CA. While the circumstances leading up to the ceremony were not positive, the fact that a new CDR has taken charge in a public ceremony in front of his troops should be comforting to all.

Photo Source: http://www.psywarrior.com/psyopcrests.html

In this case it was especially satisfying to me personally because the new Commander was a LT in the 12th PSYOP Bn during my Command tenure. I have had the privilege of mentoring many people young in the careers in both the military and commercial sectors. While commercial success is certainly laudable, it does not come with the emotional high that is attached to being asked to Command in the military.

There is more than a certain pride that accompanies the new Commander as he or she strides out to the center of the parade field and receives the guidon of his new unit from the Command Sergeant Major. The moment is marked with determination, satisfaction and emotion and signals to everyone that this is the new boss who is now responsible for everything the unit does or fails to do. Commercial bosses may get their bonuses trimmed or stock options cancelled or even fired, but they are not likely to be in a position where they routinely decides who will be put in harm’s way.

Military Commanders today, whether active duty, reserve or national guard are making these decisions as they fill their rosters of personnel destined for Afghanistan, Iraq or future conflicts. Commanders at Battalion and above are normally selected by a Command Selection Board of senior officers, being selected is an achievement, but it is not a guarantee for success.

To the New Commander: Best Wishes and God Speed!


Anonymous said...

14th PSYOP Battalion had been relieved, eh? While in Iraq, too?

Such a shame that during the drawdown, and when professionalism is tantamount for success and lasting impressions with senior leaders and influential policy makers.

Thank you for that impression; another hole the community has to dig itself out of.

Perhaps the AC/RC divorce was the right thing to do.

Lawrence Dietz said...

The past CDR of the 14th POB was relieved and while this is a reflection in him personally, it in no way diminishes the fine work the unit and its people do and have done in past conflicts.

While I consider my Blog a communications vehicle for the Regiment and publish virtually every comment, I do not agree that the 'divorce' was the right thing, if anything it exacerbates these kinds of issues.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Dietz,

I respect your opinion and your position regarding the hardwork of the unit is not discounted.

However, being the Commander of a unit is more than a personal reflection - it is a symbolic position that demands one hundred percent of your devotion.

Being relieved in combat, as a Battalion Commander suggests that these were learned behaviors that were coalesced over time. The fact that the community did not recognize them prior to his deployment suggests that the community that raised him is tainted as well.

A Commander (USF-I level) had to relieve him at Camp Victory - not someone from within USACAPOC.

That speaks volumes in itself.

The divorce may not be the right thing, but it happenned for calculated reasons. Just like MISO happenned - PSYOPers could not see the change coming and people from outside the community had to direct the effort.

As long as you don't allow open and free flowing comments on your blog - it will only be your blog - not a vehicle for the regiment. It is a communication vehicle solely for your benefit - not the benefit of the Regiment.

Lawrence Dietz said...


Continuing our dialogue. I concur that the situation reflects badly on the community and I cannot comment about previous behavior prior to deployment, but your point is well taken.

I however, still maintain that the divorce needs to be undone, in a large part because we can ill afford to have two separate but equal PSYOP/MISO communities.


Anonymous said...

Amen, Mr. Dietz!

Unfortunately, our AC colleagues think they're too special for us now. After having seen 4th POG performance personally in combat on several occasions, I can see some benefit to the divorce. AC doesn't know their job very well and we do. That one BC notwithstanding, I'm tired of apologizing for their inability to perform. They need to stop pretending to be door kickers and learn their craft, otherwise, the divorce helps RC very much!

Lawrence Dietz said...

Be advised that I publish virtually every comment I am sent. It does not mean that I agree with the sentiments of the author, but I do feel obligated to share an open forum.


Anonymous said...

Mr Dietz, I pay attention to the PSYOP regimental blog, I am a senior enlisted,I can no longer stay silent on this subject. I have seen the results of the split (sounds better than divorce), and I disagree that the AC does not know their job as well as the reserve component. I have seen CDRs relieved as well, that being said, the officer corps in the reserve component needs to invest in themselves, as an enlisted 37, I have seen too many reserve officers that do not know their jobs, or are they are more focused on their own career rather than their JOB. An officers job is to plan/lead and are the senior evaluators of training. The NCOs execute. In the reserve component of PSYOP we are saddled with too many officers that do not get relieved when they should or get OERs that truthfully reflect that officer. I thinks its a positive thing that the particular commander mentioned was relieved, it means someone was being an advocate for that unit and the solution was to get rid of the problem, its too bad that the higher command (rhymes with CAPOC) chose to give this officer a job in the G3 rather than prosecute, gee the ash and trash just get passed on to some other poor souls to deal with, meanwhile the 2 star is out jumping into France for D-day reunion, wait capoc wasnt even around during the WWII invasion...
I think it goes higher, the government is starving for money, perhaps USARC should conduct an azimuth check on this organization and fire for effect. The leadership is not fixing itself and according to anonymous a USF-I level officer had to fix OUR problem. There are other BN CDRs in this command that need to be sent packing. I will remain anonymous because I have a high profile position, and I do not trust this command not show petty retaliation, just my bitter 2 cents

Lawrence Dietz said...

Candid and informed opinions are always welcome and I thank you for yours!

Anonymous said...

I heard recently that the Commander that was relieved and subsequently prosecuted, was aloowed to stay AGR in capoc. Disgusting. different spanks for different ranks....