15th SB's new CSM shares wisdom with NCOs

Story and Photos by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas — “It’s not about you, it’s about those young Soldiers.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Bartee Sr., 15th Sustainment Brigade’s new senior noncommissioned officer walked up and down the aisles, looking his NCOs in the eye as he spoke.

Bartee imparted some wisdom and explained what he expected to the NCOs of 15th SB, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), at an NCO professional development class at the Phantom Warrior Center here, Oct. 27.

“Back to Basics” was the theme of the Quitman, Ga., native’s class, which started with an introduction from Col. Larry Phelps, 15th SB commander.

“You can’t lead where you won’t go, and you can’t teach what you don’t know,” Phelps, who was an NCO himself before his commission in 1984, said.

“The basics of soldiering will never fail you.  They’ve worked for 233 years,” Phelps said.

Bartee talked about many things, but the common threads centered on taking care of Soldiers and maintaining standards.

He urged the NCOs to respect their subordinates as they want to be respected themselves and to not always yell or be angry.

“There’s a way to get things done in a tactful manner,” Bartee explained.

He also reminded them that NCOs are leaders of Soldiers, not their personal friends.

Bartee continued by encouraging NCOs to take responsibility and admit when they are wrong.

“If you get home and you know you did something wrong, turn around and fix it.”

He also explored time management.

“Manage your day, don’t let it manage you.  If we’re working Soldiers after 1800, we’ve got problems,” Bartee said.

Time management also makes more time for family, something Bartee highly encouraged.  He believes all Soldiers should give as much time and effort to their family as they do the Army.

He urged the NCOs to be aggressive in their positions.  To know their jobs well, to seek out answers, take notes at meetings, to give awards based on merit instead of rank, and to continuously and effectively communicate with subordinates.

“[Soldiers] should know what’s expected of them,” Bartee said as he explained the importance of periodic and event oriented counseling sessions.

One thing Bartee expects of Soldiers is to follow regulations on appearance at all times.

But his expectations didn’t stop there.

“Every Soldier in this brigade should have at least an associate’s degree,” he said.

Bartee reminded the NCOs they are training their replacements, who need to be educated, disciplined and fit to fight.

Bartee told them they must meet the standards in integrity, weapon qualification, cleanliness and physical fitness.

“[If] in the motor pool you’re all that and a bag of chips [but] in PT you’re falling out … you don’t impress Soldiers like that,” Bartee explained.

“On any given day, an NCO should be able to go out and qualify,” he said of weapons qualification.

“We are not above our Soldiers.”


Command Sgt Maj Nathaniel Bartee, Sr
Command Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Bartee Sr., 15th Sustainment Brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer, talks about professionalism at a 15th SB NCO professional development class at Phantom Warrior Center here, Oct. 27. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)