PenFed - Move Our Heroes

Change of Responsibility

The FYI Magazine recently had the opportunity to interview the transitioning CSMs of the Fort Gordon Garrison. As we congratulate and say farewell to CSM Bryant, we thank him for his time served at Fort Gordon. He will retire in 2020 with thirty incredible years of service; sharing with us that he will remain in the local area with plans to be an active member of both Richmond and Columbia counties. He is proud of everything he has accomplished while in the position with the Garrison team since September of 2016, such as opening a new dining facility, the AIT phase two building and the groundbreaking of Gate 6. His most significant accomplishment is the start of construction of ARCYBER Headquarters, part of a multi-billion dollar transformation on Fort Gordon. And when asked if he had any encouraging words for incoming CSM Starrett, he stated “Enjoy your time as the Fort Gordon Garrison CSM. You will grow as a senior leader in this position. Being the Garrison CSM is unlike other traditional Brigades. You are essentially an assistant city manager for the 6th largest city in the state of Georgia. And as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Garrison Commander, you will work with him closely to ensure you all are meeting the needs of our service members and their families. Some of these initiatives include MWR programs, soldier support activities, community engagements, conflict resolutions, and establishing a command relation with the MACOMs. A significant note very important to me are issues that service members may have in their barracks and on post housing. Continue taking care of the service members and their families… this was my top priority!”

CSM Starett

Tell us a little about your history?

I was raised in Dallas, TX. My previous duty station was Joint Base Lewis McChord, where I served as the 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion Command Sergeant Major (CSM). I have my wife, Angelina, and our 5 year old daughter Sophia here with me. And we have three other grown…ish daughters; one (Josephine, 24) is a 1LT in the Air Force stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and two are away attending college, one (Kiersten, 23) at Sacramento City College, CA, and the other (Jessica, 19) at Karlsruhe University, Germany.

Have you been to Fort Gordon before?

I have served here at Fort Gordon before. 2010 to 2012, I served as 1SG for Bravo Company, 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, and 2012 to late 2013 as 1SG for Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 7th Signal Command. There are many great facilities and programs that DFMWR facilitates. My favorite place to visit, when I can carve out time, is the Gordon Lakes Golf Club. Among the many great programs DFMWR runs, I think the BOSS program makes a tremendous impact on the morale of all single service members here at Fort Gordon and that translates to positive impact to the mission.

What attributes do you feel you will bring to your new position?

Becoming the Garrison CSM is uncharted waters for me, as it is for every CSM coming into the position. We all come to this position from various career fields, which have very little to do with Garrison responsibilities. However, my career field to this point has been with the Signal Corps. I believe my familiarity with the Signal Corps and the Fort Gordon mission helps me in ways that someone from a different career field wouldn’t benefit from (here) in the same way. I’ve already developed working relationships with several of the senior leaders at Fort Gordon from previous assignments, so there is a rapport which is always good. I was afforded the opportunity to arrive here at Fort Gordon early and worked closely with the Garrison team and the CCoE Transformation team, which has been beneficial. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with all of the Garrison directorate leads and learned about each of their roles in serving the service members, civilians, and families at Fort Gordon. I’ve also learned about the $1.6 billion worth of construction that is and will continue to take place at Fort Gordon over the next 8 years or so as we grow Fort Gordon in order to support ARCYBER Command and additional Military Intelligence units’ transitioning to Fort Gordon. So, summarizing the answer to your question, I understand the Garrison mission, I know many of the key leaders necessary to accomplish the mission, and I understand the importance of taking care of people.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Well, I would say my leadership style most resembles a participative style. As you move up in echelon and have more subordinate leaders, I think it’s important to push authority to the lowest level, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Not only is this in line with the Mission Command Concept, but I believe it causes subordinate leaders to demonstrate more initiative, innovation and desire to accomplish the set end-state. Now, that said, I also still have some old school beliefs, such as setting standards, accountability, and trust but verify… what gets checked gets accomplished. Obviously, at the Garrison level, the checks are often accomplished through subordinate leader back-briefs. Additionally, when talking about leading people, I think it’s important to also talk about Army Values. I believe deeply in the Army Values, and I make every effort to live by all seven of them. I’ll highlight four values, which I believe are imperative to a cohesive and productive team. Be LOYAL to your family, your organization, and your DUTY. Be strict to standards, but do so while treating every person with dignity and RESPECT. And never compromise your INTEGRITY. These values are a guiding principle to my leadership style.

Are there any immediate plans for change within Garrison you can share with us?

I learned some time ago that it’s better to listen and observe for a bit before jumping to making changes that can affect people’s lives. The Army has a way of selecting the right leaders at the right time and I believe that what CSM Bryant and the Garrison team have put in place was done so for the right reasons for that period in time. We will look at programs and processes as a command team and make changes as required to provide the best possible services to the people that work and live at Fort Gordon.

Any message or encouraging words you’d like to share with the community?

Augusta is considered the second largest city in Georgia, second only to Atlanta. Fort Gordon’s supported population is over 113,000, which would make it the seventh largest city in the state, among 584 cities in Georgia. I say that to say this… Fort Gordon is continually growing (people) at a rapid pace over the next few years, and with it, we are maximizing efforts to improve and grow the infrastructure and services necessary to continue to provide timely and quality services to our service members, civilians, and their families. We will “Sustain, Support, Defend!”

About Crystal Tyson

Having served nine years active duty military, Crystal has always had a passion to serve those who serve! While becoming a wife and mother of four beautiful children, she was offered an opportunity to continue to do so. In her time with Family and MWR, Crystal has grown to absolutely love her job; it totally fits her outgoing, zany personality! This Chicago native looks forward to many more years to come with Family and MWR.

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