Remembering A Professional Soldier

The Long March
A soldier assigned to the 455th Engineer Company, 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, reaches higher ground to use his Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System at Orchard Combat Training Center, Idaho, July 13, 2017
U.S. Army Reserve/Sgt. Demetrio Montoya/301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

There is a lot of talk about the profession of arms and what a professional soldier should look like.

I would like to share a little about a professional I once had the honor and privilege to serve with.

The Professional was a non-commissioned officer that everybody came to see at one time or another. Regardless of rank or position, the Professional treated everyone with respect and courtesy. When somebody needed a part, or services coordinated, or fluids or tires or a tool; they came to the Professional. If it concerned a piece of military equipment it most certainly concerned the Professional. He didn’t care if you were a line grunt, a driver, a cook with an MKT trailer or a Commander whose vehicle was down.

The Professional treated everyone with the same level of respect and consideration regardless if they were a private or sergeant or 1SG or captain. The Professional knew how to prioritize and maximize efficiency. Making sure people had what they needed to accomplish their task and fulfill their purpose was the Professional’s main priority. Light hearted joking and banter came along with how the Professional went about encouraging every Soldier that came to the door. The Professional cared about not just making sure tasks were completed but that everyone who came by left more motivated and in better spirits.

The Professional did not care about petty problems or personality issues. Ethnic origin or age or gender or any other reason people divide themselves; all of which were of no consequence. The Professional cared more about mission accomplishment and the people that depended on him than petty drama. He took care of his team, and those who were relying on his efforts to get things done.

The Professional did not have all of the special skill badges or tabs or awards that many worship as the only marks of a warrior’s worth. He was Airborne and had deployed with the 82nd, so the instant credibility from serving in a legacy unit was there on his uniform, but he never let that be what defined his professionalism. Instead, it was simple and quantifiable in how he treated everyone who came to his desk and how the results of his efforts directly equates to readiness and mission accomplishment.

I think it is important we all take the time to realize and recognize the professionals in our lives and display gratitude by emulating their examples. Be the difference. Be a Professional. Be like Sgt. Bunch.

Luke Flowers. 1LT, IN Retired. OIF I, OIF II, OIF 05-07, OIF 07-09. Currently experiencing life after the Army. 

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