General James Mattis (Ret.) served in the United States Marine Corps from 1969 to 2013. During this time he was the 11th Commander of United States Central Command. We sat down with him and asked him your questions.
Acute public health problems, emergencies, and recent disasters have highlighted weaknesses in the general capabilities of non-uniformed civilian volunteers in the United States. Their lack of uniformity, organization, and chains of command limits their efficiency and usefulness, especially in light of new emergent crises of the post-Cold War. Indeed, the uncoordinated, undisciplined, and spontaneous convergence of medical volunteers is part of the problem. Sufficient and reliable, well-trained , and highly disciplined uniformed volunteer medical personnel familiar with the areas of operations are needed to augment full-time public health and medical personnel. State Defense Force (SDF) medical units can provide just such a volunteer paramilitary medical and public health resource. To show how SDFs can do this, the purpose of this article was to report on the work of an important, yet little known, force for public health and emergency/disaster response preparedness that has been “flying under the radar” for years in terms of the public health literature. Specifically, this article describes the Texas State Guard (an SDF) and its Operation Lone Star. In so doing, the article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of SDFs, offer recommendations, and suggest future avenues for research inquiry.
For the article by LTC Raph J. Johnson III, U.S. Army Reserve, 1st BDE, 1 Southern Training Division, 75th Training Command … Article
Admiral William H. McRaven – A few years ago a commencement speech given at the University of Texas by a retired Navy SEAL and Navy Admiral went viral. The message of the speech? Make your bed and you can change the world. Listen to his words … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70
Article by James Moschgat, USAF (Ret.)
William “Bill” Crawford was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor. Army Master Sergeant William J. Crawford (Ret.), poses for a photo for a Denver Post photographer shortly before a Fourth of July parade in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Beverly Crawford Kite.
While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades, and room inspections — or never — ending leadership classes—Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory.
Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties. Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job — he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours.
Maybe it was his physical appearance that made him disappear into the background. Bill didn’t move very quickly, and in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets. And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it, Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world. What did he have to offer us on a personal level?
Maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often.
Army Master Sergeant William J. Crawford (Ret.), poses for a photo for a Denver Post photographer shortly before a Fourth of July parade in Denver, Colorado.
Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. For whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford… well, he was just a janitor. That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me, “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire… with no regard for personal safety… on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States…” “Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor recipient.” We all knew Mr. Crawford was a World War II Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story. We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt on our faces. He stared at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s me.” Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once, we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?” He slowly replied after some thought, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.” I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to. After that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst — Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had been bestowed The Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Crawford.” Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up, started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin. Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates. Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn’t happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron. As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.” With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado, one of four Medal of Honor recipients who lived in the small town of Pueblo.
A wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made a difference for me. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons, and I think of him often.
Here are ten I’d like to share:
1.) Be Cautious of Labels. Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bind their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.” Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.”
2.) Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the “janitor” label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others. He deserved much more, and not just because he was received the Medal of Honor. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.
3.) Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos” to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us.
4.) Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?
5.) Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he earned his Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.
6.) Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern day heroes, and some leaders, are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your “hero meter” on today’s athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford—he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well served to do the same.
7.) Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should — don’t let that stop you. Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory — he did his duty and then swept floors for a living.
8.) No Job is Beneath a Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor recipient, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it.
9.) Pursue Excellence. No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.” Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home.
10.) Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look, and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn.
Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model, and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons.
SGAUS PME Academy Update!
The SGAUS PME Academy is in full swing! The Academy continues to provide online Professional Military Education (PME) services to State Defense Forces (SDF’s) across the nation. As of 21 April 2017, there are 594 students who have completed or are actively enrolled in online courses. Since the end of March in 2016, the PME Academy has awarded 482 course completion certificates. Requests for enrollment are coming in on a daily basis. Once requests come in, students are set up and enrolled within two business days, max! We work very closely with the approved SDF’s PME coordinators to ensure each student’s effort and course work data is in the hands of the SDF training departments.
We would like to remind Commander’s to appoint state Training Officers and to identify Subject Mater Experts who are willing to become part of the PME Academy curriculum development teams. Upcoming projects will include developing a senior officer training course and developing course Programs of Instruction that allow organization with existing curriculum to integrate their curriculum using a resident and non-resident phases. The resident phase would allow the organization to customize the training to fit their organization and the non-resident phase could be built largely of SGAUS PME online Courses. This process would allow units to greatly increase their annual training hours with minimal expenditure of training resources.
The SGAUS online Academy also hosts the JAG Academy and their 10-module “Practicing Military Law” course available to SDF attorneys nationally, after approval by the JAG Academy Committee. The JAG Academy has awarded 35 certificates of course completion since its inception last Fall.
We are starting to see more military education standardization arise by the commonality the PME Academy and JAG courses across the various SDF’s. In addition to the JAG course, the current suite includes 12 PME courses:
Preventing Sexual Harassment (annual mandatory course in some SDF’s)
Officer Basic Course (OBC)
Officer Advanced Course (OAC)
Command & Staff Course Phase 1 (CAS1)
Command & Staff Course Phase 2 (CAS2)
Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC)
Warrant Officer Advanced Course (WOAC)
Warrant Officer Staff Course (WOSC)
Primary (Warrior) Leader Course (PLC)
Senior Leader Course (SLC)
Advanced Leader Course (ALC)
Command Sergeant Major Course (CSM)
Some SDF’s are now requiring their students to go through the online PME Academy courses before the in-residence academies in their states. They are discovering that this approach exposes the students, especially non-priors, to the instruction before the classroom experience which makes the discussion in class more focused and richer and the retention of instruction higher due to the repetition.
Some SDF’s are also requiring non-prior recruits to sign-up and enroll in courses as part of their recruitment/onboarding processes. The same goes for specific courses being required for promotions.
So, if your state is interested in participating, the SDF Commander needs to contact the SGAUS Executive Director, BG (TN-R) Kenneth Takasaki at:
BG Takasaki will brief the SDF Commander on the program and the onboarding process. Each state has the flexibility to merge the services of the Academy into their PME process.
I also need to remind everyone that the instructional content of the PME Academy is a living entity. The current suite of courses is not static. We anticipate more courses being added in the future and existing courses being refined for more effectiveness of instruction. The SGAUS Education Committee Chair is COL James Hardy. Please make any suggestions for changes, improvements and new courses to him at:
If you have technical questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at:
CHAGO SANTIAGO, COL (TN) JAMES J. HARDY, COL (NY)
Chief Technology Officer Chair, SGAUS PME Academy
Chaplain candidacy in the Georgia State Defense Force offers a tremendous opportunity to serve both God as well as soldiers and their families. A newly designed and developed Chaplain Candidate Handbook is intended to help candidates adjust to this new responsibility and provide some basic information pertaining to their role as a Chaplain Candidate. It is not intended to be an exhaustive manual, but rather a springboard to lead the candidate into further exploration of the call as a Chaplain and a GASDF officer.
It also serves current Chaplains as a professional development tool for mentoring Chaplain Candidates and junior Chaplains. As always, it should be augmented with current applicable Army/GASDF doctrine, guidance, and instructions.
The Handbook covers who we are and what we do (Chapter 1); who we serve and how we fit in (Chapter 2); in-processing (Chapter 3); the unit ministry team (Chapter 4); becoming a chaplain (Chapter 5); uniforms and appearance (Annex A); basic standards, customs & courtesies (Annex B), recommended reading (Annex C), and Chaplain insignia (Annex D).
Our intent and hope in this endeavor is to further standardize and professionalize the GASDF Chaplain Corps in line with the Georgia Army National Guard Chaplain Corps (on whose material it is based). And we offer this, also, as a contribution that other State Guards and Defense Forces may use and build on in their service to their respective states and to the United States.
POC for more information is CH(CPT-GA) Bobby Haygood at email@example.com
Click this link for the GASDF Chaplain Candidate Handbook.
More than 67,000 veterans have applied to shop on the military exchange store websites under a recently released benefit.
The benefit clears the way for honorably discharged veterans from any era to shop at the exchange stores online. In the past, the shopping benefit both online and at brick-and-mortar locations was limited primarily to active-duty troops; National Guardsmen, reservists and their dependents; and retirees and their dependents.
To signup, go to VetVerify.org web portal. That system allows veterans’ information to be verified with the Defense Department so they can be cleared to use the online exchange stores.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to double the state’s unarmed guard forces, which were stretched thin by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. For more information … https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Gov-Abbott-Wants-to-Double-State-Guard-in-Wake-of-Harvey-456890523.html
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –After their historical first-time activation for duty outside of Alaska, four Alaska State Defense Force Soldiers will return next week from a Puerto Rico deployment where they assisted with relief efforts in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. For more information … https://www.dvidshub.net/news/255803/alaska-state-defense-force-soldiers-make-history-and-deploy-out-state