Welcomes Command Sgt. Maj. Mack
End of Year 2011
Baton Rouge Recruiting Battalion
Baton Rouge Battalion Rough Rider
Army All-American Bowl Soldier Heroes
Station Commanders Course
In This Issue: Battalion Commander Command Sgt. Maj. From the Field Feature News Company News Battalion News Army News Where Yâ€™at?
Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page
3 4 5 6 8 10 16 19
ON THE COVER: Command Sgt. Maj. Cornelius Mack assumes command of the Baton Rouge Battalion at the Change of Responsibilty ceremony in August.
Rough Rider is an authorized publication under the provisions of AR 360-01 for the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Baton Rouge. The contents are not necessarily official views and/or endorsed by the United States Government, Department of the Army or the Baton Rouge Army Recruiting Battalion. It is published quarterly by the advertising and public affairs office, Baton Rouge Recruiting Battalion, located at 10101 Park Rowe Avenue, Suite 575, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A Day with Staff Sgt. Ellis
70810. Telephone (225) 757-7168; Fax (225) 767-7762. Stories and/ or photographs related to recruiting activities or other areas of interest, including letters to the editor are welcome. Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Jose Torres
Chief, Advertising & Public Affairs Roger Harmon A&PA Specialist Jennifer Villaume
Battalion Commander â”‚RR
Lt. Col. Torres congratulates Jackson Company Future Soldiers before the oath of enlistment ceremony at the Capitol City Classic in November.
Hello Rough Riders! I am so proud of each and every one of you for a great year. You have provided the Strength to our Army and to our Nation and I salute you and your families for your accomplishments. First and foremost, I would like to welcome our new Command Sergeant Major and my battle buddy to the team. Command Sgt. Maj. Mack brings exactly what we need to continue our quest to the top. He comes with spectacular motivation, well-rounded experience and top-notch leadership skills. He is the right senior leader, at the right place and at the right time. This year, we will continue to place our Soldiers and Families at the forefront of our priorities. We are planning for our Annual Training Conference in the spring and for our Organization Day - Olympics style - with a variety of track and field events and activities for family membersâ€“ so, start your training now. It will be a lot of fun. We begin a new recruiting year with a challenging mission, fewer resources and higher expectations. I have no doubt we will achieve every single goal to position the battalion as the best organization in this command. Precision is the key to success. We will have to sharpen our recruiting skills to go after mission categories. Although we may see reduction in our mission, we will face personnel turnover and cutbacks. We need to be prepared to step it up a notch and continue to do what we were trained to do. I look forward to working together to make our team the best organization in USAREC. Hooah! Rough Rider
Command Sgt. Maj. │RR
A snapshot view from my foxhole..
NCOs MUST: BE • Committed to the ideals of the Army and their unit • A consummate professional everyday • Trustworthy- Soldiers should never doubt your integrity • Disciplined – do the right thing, always • Open in thought and communication • Competent in every aspect of your job KNOW • Your Soldiers – everything about them and their family • Your unit’s mission and your METL • Yourself - strengths and weaknesses • Your unit’s history
A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of their actions and the integrity of their intent. The USAREC Mission: Provide the Strength of the Army. Bringing quality young men and women into the Army – people who will complete their tours of duty and make a contribution to the Nation’s defense - this is the objective of the U. S. Army Recruiting Command as it goes about the mission of “Providing the Strength” for America’s Army. As the CSM for this battalion, it is my intent that we meet the standard of the mission set before us. My vision aligns with that of the command, however my leadership philosophy aligns with the role of the NCO and what is expected of the NCO. I express at the very beginning what a leader is and does. In my eyes all NCO’s are leaders and at all times in a leadership role. Leaders must Be, Know and Do certain things well. These actions are paramount to the success of any organization and must be preformed consistently.
• What is expected of you DO
• Provide true and meaningful direction • Give your Soldiers purpose • Find ways to motivate yourself while motivating others • Set the example in all aspects of Soldiering • Provide realistic training for your Soldiers • Seek educational improvement opportunities • Recognize and reward your Soldiers • Correct deficiencies as they are discovered • Care for Soldiers and families • Leave a legacy
“IF THESE THINGS ARE DONE THE MISSION WILL GET DONE”
During school visits in the Lafayette area, I was shocked to learn just how little students know about our country’s history, and more importantly about our military’s history.
From the Field │RR stated, such a great way to teach others a little about our veterans and their contribution to our great Nation.
With our kids moving more and more towards video games and technology, how can we keep our history alive?
A weekend in April was our first experience with being involved in the Venture Crew’s reenactment. Manges planned and executed a post Operation Market Garden battle, including members of a German Reenactment Club.
In early May, I met Elvin Manges during a visit to the Lafayette Boy Scouts of America to discuss an upcoming dodgeball tournament we are participating in. As we discussed some of the units I served with in the Army, Manges told me about a Venture Crew he was attempting to get off the ground in Lafayette.
The Germans dressed in WWII period dress and our boys outfitted in WWII paratrooper uniforms were briefed on the operation and then conducted an actual movement to contact mission.The details of the operation and the attention to detail were quite surprising and the Venture Crew performed brilliantly.
A Boy Scout Venture Crew is a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 13 to 14 years of age and have completed the eighth grade
During the after action review, members of the German club were ecstatic in their praise of the Venture Crew. They were impressed with the way they performed and are planning another event for later this year.
The Venturing Crew’s purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature, prepare them to become responsible and caring adults and teach them to give back to their communities. This will also keep them off the couch and busy outside. Each Boy Scout Venture Crew is different and can have a focus that they may concentrate towards. The Lafayette crew just happened to focus on the Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment better known as the Curahees, Band of Brothers.
The weekend was a wonderful experience for me and my sons. Not only did I get to spend time with them, but they were able to experience a little of the Army, it’s history and have a little more respect for the veteran’s and their sacrifices. This Memorial Day will have a little more special meaning to my family because of the Boy Scout’s Venture Crew and the hard work of Elvin Manges.
While this Venturing Crew’s focus is WWII historical reenactments, the boys are also responsible for community service projects, continuing to climb the ranks as a Boy Scout and eventually achieve their Eagle Scout. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity for me and for my boys, especially since I am a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served with the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry, during their deployment in 2005. Having grown up as “military brats”, my two sons know quite a bit about the military and the history of the units I have served with. Consequently, when I told my boys about this Venture Crew, they jumped at the chance to join, seeing it as another way to learn and experience firsthand about the Army and what they saw in the movies. It was also, as my oldest son Rough Rider
Capt. Kevin Brummett and Elvin Manges with the scouts from the Boy Scout Venture Crew. This crew focuses learning about the Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, or Band of Brothers.
His First Army Story Jennifer Villaume Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Thomas shows E.J. Bride the proper way to use the Future Soldier log for PT training. The log develops upper body strength for conditioning in push up, sit ups and ab workouts.
OPELOUSAS, La. - At a young age, Erns “E.J.” Bride knew he wanted to be a Solider, but when he walked into the Opelousas Recruiting Station intent on enlisting there was one problem. He weighed 282 pounds and did not meet the Army enlistment standard. “I have always looked up to people in uniform,” said Bride. “It was always a dream for me to become a Soldier.” After he graduated high school, Bride became motivated to pursue his dream and lose the weight. His aunt, Heather Shexnayder, helped him to change his eating habits by increasing his intake of vegetables and fruits, cutting down on fried and processed foods and giving up carbohydrates and sodas. “He told me over the July fourth weekend that he was considering joining the military, and we knew that he needed to lose weight to meet the standards,” said Shexnayder. “So the following Monday we started. I encouraged and stood behind him, but it was his inner strength that made it happen.” In June 2010, Bride began coming to the 6
Opelousas Recruiting Station on a daily basis to conduct physical training with Sgt. 1st Class Charles Reeves and Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Thomas as part of the Future Soldier Army Physical Fitness program. At the beginning he could barely run one mile, now he keeps up with Reeves and Thomas for three miles. “Sgt. Reeves kept telling me to ‘never quit’ and ‘to give it your all’,” said Bride. “I will remember that in basic to keep me motivated.” He went from a 46 inch waist to his current 32 inch waist losing over eighty pounds. “Once he began losing weight, he found that the weight loss boosted his self esteem allowing him to feel good both physically and mentally,” said Reeves. “He knew he could be a positive role model to others. He continues to work with fellow Future Soldiers to help them reach their own personal goals. He attends Future Soldier functions and high school table set ups to tell others his story.” Bride selected Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 68W or Healthcare Specialist. The Health Care Specialist is primarily responsible for providing emergency Rough Rider
medical treatment, limited primary care and health protection and evacuation from a point of injury or illness, sometimes directly from the battlefield. “EJ’s dream is to be in the medical field,” said Shexnayder. “Financially, the military was the best choice for him. The military, regardless of branch, is the best thing a child can do. I told him to go for it; there is nothing better in the world than serving your country.” “I love helping people, this job fits me. I know that the Army is a career for me.” Bride said. He said that seeing Reeves and Thomas, as well as the other Future Soldiers, interacting as a brotherhood reinforced his decision to join the Army. Bride attributes receiving positive feedback from his Recruiters, family and friends as a key motivator. Bride said, “Through Sgt. Reeves’ story, I could see that the Army gives you the support to have friends and family,” he said. “This is why I chose the Army.” “This young man is an insightful and hardworking Future Soldier and we truly grateful to have him as a member of the “Greatest Army in the World,” said Reeves. Thomas said, “Bride never lost faith or gave up his goal. He has become a positive reminder of what hard work and determination can achieve.” Usually new Soldiers enter basic training as a
Private or E-1. Bride earned an accelerated promotion to Pvt.1st Class (E-3), by completing his Future Soldier task list. Some of the items on this list include being competent in military time, land navigation, military drill and customs, general orders and marching to commands. “Completing this list gives him more pay, benefits and a faster promotion rate after basic,” said Thomas. “He will not get left behind at Basic Training; he has been working on this for four months, he knows what to do to get ahead.”
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Reeves, E.J. Bride and Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Thomas at the Opelousas Recruiting Station. “This young man is an insightful and hardworking future soldier and we truly grateful to have him as a member of the “Greatest Army in the World,” said Reeves.
McBride lost over 80 pounds and 15 inches off his waist with the help of the recruiters at the Opelousas recruiting station in order to enlist.
City of Jackson salutes high school Seniors Jennifer Villaume
Brandon Hall, a Future Soldier in the Jackson Recruiting Company, shakes hands with Lt. Col. Jose Torres during the Our Community Salutes ceremony in Jackson. Hall is graduating from East Rankin Academy and enlisting as an Airborne Ranger Infantryman.
JACKSON, Ms – The Jackson community individually recognized graduating more than 150 high school seniors enlisting in the armed forces upon graduation here on June 2. Our Community Salutes (OCS) was designed to honor future members of the military outside their own high school graduation, honoring them in the community for their decision to serve. “Typically graduations do not set aside or acknowledge the graduates that are choosing to serve,” said Capt. LaTasha McCullar, company commander for the Jackson Recruiting Company. “With the help of OCS, we honor those graduates and give them support from the community they have pledged to defend.” “This venue affords the community to highlight their own, to draw attention to their future heroes and to establish military service as a viable option to our young men and women,” said Lt. Col. Jose Torres, Baton Rouge Recruiting Battalion commander. “Only one of four applicants qualify to enlist in our Army and the fact that young kids make a commitment to serve and wear our uniform - our symbol of strength; is something that must be loudly
recognized,” said Torres. Dr. Juanita Sims-Doty, President and Executive Director of the International Community Ambassadors Network (I!CAN), served as the committee chair organizing the banquet for the seniors and parents. “Because of the work of the members of the I!CAN and other members of the community who gave their support, I feel that this inaugural recognition banquet has ignited a spirit of continued pride and support for our enlistees and their parents,” said Doty. The committee consisted of members of the community and representatives from each branch of the military. The committee volunteered by sending out invitations, organizing the program, packaging survival kits, and decorating for the event. “As I shook the hands of the enlistees and their parents, I saw a ‘spark’ in their eyes that told me how much being recognized by their community meant to them as they go off to serve our country,” said Doty. “I saw how proud the parents were of their children who had made this commitment. And I saw the community come together to show support and appreciation.” In addition to honoring the future enlistees, the ceremony honored the parents. A parent’s oath of support was administered and a parent’s prayer was read by parents, both written for the event by Carlyn Hicks of Jackson, Ms. “It is important to honor parents and loved ones because these are the most influential people in that Future Soldier’s life,” said Hicks. “By embracing their family members, it sends a strong message that “we get it” and makes it easier for familial support of our armed forces in the long run.” Hicks organized the survival kits for parents which consisted of items to remind them of the support they can give to their children when at basic training and beyond. “With so much focus on the Soldiers, there is very little focus on the family members, mothers and fathers, who have to deal with the new adjustment of their son or daughter’s decision to join the armed forces,” said Hicks. “So, the survival kit was See “Jackson” page 20
New Orleans Soldiers give back to community school “The Army helps people and now I am part of the Army, so I came out to help the community I grew up in,” said Future Soldier Chaquell Perry. “Our local schools need help.” She plans to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette majoring in Pre-Med with her Army education fund and enlistment bonus. After college, she plans to use the Army Medical Scholarship Program for a specialty of ObGyn.
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Twenty New Orleans company recruiters and sixty Future Soldiers donated their time in July to paint Miller-McCoy Academy’s interior walls for returning students. The project to paint the school developed from a meeting of the battalion and company leadership teams and 100 Black Men of New Orleans at the Essence festival earlier in the month. “We don’t have an Army installation here to provide us support so we count on our local community. This is our way of giving back to our community for taking us in like they do,” said New Orleans Company 1st Sgt. Scottie LeBlanc. Miller-McCoy Academy, New Orleans’ only all-boys charter public school, serves over 530 urban male students in East New Orleans. MillerMcCoy is an open admission, college preparatory school serving 5th-grade through 12th-grade as an option for parents seeking a gender based, structured environment with emphasis on math and business. “The school opened in 2008 with sixth and
ninth grade,” said Assistant Principal Stephen Goodly. “We are excited because this is the first year we will have a graduating class.” “These students chose to attend a school that has uniforms that include a bow tie for middle school and full length neck tie for high school students. They chose to attend a school that has stricter standards than some of the other schools in the area,” said LeBlanc. “The buildings don’t nearly meet the standards of the way they dress to attend it. We had an opportunity to change that a little. We can’t do it all, but we can contribute our time to make the learning environment a little bit better for these young Americans,” said LeBlanc. All sixty Future Soldiers came out to help the community that they are leaving to join the Army. “The Army helps people, and now I am part of the Army, so I came to help the community I grew up in,” said Future Soldier Chaquell Perry. “Our local schools need help.” Perry graduated from with honors from See “School” page 21
U.S. Army All-American Bowl : A Conver
The Baton Rouge Army Recruiting Battalion had the opportunity to send four recruiters to the U.S. Army All- American bowl in San Antonio, Texas, January 4-9, 2011 as Soldier Heroes. The Heroes paired up with All-American Football players for the purpose of providing insight into what it takes to be Army Soldier. To be selected as a Soldier Hero the recipient must have one or more of the following: Purple Heart, Silver Star or higher, Bronze Star with V device, or Army Commendation Medal with V device. The Rough Rider sat down with each Soldier Hero to get their impressions of the All American Bowl and the role they played as mentors. Sgt. 1st Class Reeves and Staff Sgt. Hudson have been nominated to represent the battalion at the next Army All-American Bowl in January 2012.
RR: How did the trip energize you to become a better Station Commander and Recruiter in your station?
“The All-American Bowl gave me insight on some of the things that young people are interested in and their lifestyles. My player showed interest in some of the same things as me. It gave me more stories that I can tell to young people that want to hear an Army Story. It allowed the players and COI’s to see that Soldiers are normal people that live normal lives, that we are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.” Staff Sgt. Joshua Scallion, Booneville Recruiting Company, Martin Station “The All-American Bowl gave me a few more tools to put in my recruiting tool box with pictures from the game and the experience of the event to share with not only my Future Soldiers but also for high school students that ask questions about sports and the military.” Staff Sgt. Rodney Hudson, Lafayette Recruiting Company, New Iberia Station
RR: Tell me about the young men you were a mentor to during the week - what questions did they ask of you about being a solider?
“Part of this whole experience was to pair up with an All-American football player. I was teamed up with Trey 10
Johnstone from Arizona, number fifty-seven. It was amazing to get to hang out with this intelligent, talented young man. We interacted well together and were each interested in the other. I asked questions about his college ambitions, while he asked about what it’s like to be in the military. He asked how the military affects my family, what it was like being in war and for what reasons my medals were awarded.” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Reeves, Lafayette Recruiting Company, Opelousas Station
RR: How was the game and the presentations?
“The game was awesome! They way they paired us with our All-American player at the 50 yard line is a memory I will never forget. They joy and appreciation that the All-American had for being paired with me made me feel that more gracious to paired with him.” Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Cowan, Hattiesburg Recruiting Company, Meridian Station
RR: What type of training did you get while you were there that you can use in your stations? “Most of the training that we received was media training and any time you can get that kind of training it is always useful. We also were able to see some of the new equipment that is coming out that we are have at our disposal in recruiting.” Staff Sgt. Rodney Hudson, Lafayette Recruiting Company, New Iberia Station
rsation with Battalion Soldier Heroes RR: Did you meet anyone special during the week?
“My experience this week was enhanced by the people I met. I bonded with my fellow Army Soldiers, I marveled in the talent of the All-American Athletes, and I was privileged to have met Army legends. High ranking military officials graced us with their presence, honored us with their words, and embraced us as heroes and while all of us had done some actions allowing us to be present there were others whose heroism preceded ours to the point of Medal Of Honor. We also met celebrities. Jack Nicklaus, retired PGA golf professional, has more PGA wins than Tiger Woods. The Golden Bear, as he’s called by many, attended the dinner and game. I was able to meet him and get a picture and his autograph. I started playing golf at age 13 so this was a major highlight of my week.” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Reeves, Lafayette Recruiting Company, Opelousas Station
RR: Overall feeling of being a “Soldier Hero”?
“My overall feeling of being a Solider Hero: honored and blessed to be chosen to represent the heroes of our great nation. The Soldiers, NCOs and Officers in the world’s greatest Army! They say a hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. I beg to differ; a
#57 Tyler Johnstone was Sgt. 1st Class Reeves Amy All-American that he mentored all week leading up to the game.
Staff Sgt. Scallion with Jonathon Rose on the field before the game festivites. Rose plans on attending Auburn University to play football for the Tigers.
hero is an extraordinary person who does extraordinary things. Because everyone cannot be a Solider in the U.S. Army. So, to be able to put on this uniform and defend our great nation is not only a hard-earned, well-deserved privilege, but truly and extraordinary task to do each and every day.” Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Cowan, Hattiesburg Recruiting Company, Meridian Station “What an amazing week! Being selected for the AllAmerican Army bowl as a Soldier Hero was such an honor for me and my family. It was amazing to travel to San Antonio and be a part of such a wonderful event. No matter what MOS Soldiers have in the military, there were a large array of brave men and women present with Army accommodations for defending our country. It makes you feel very fortunate to be an American and in the presence of such American heroes. It was made even better by being able to share this important time with my family who accompanied me. It was so wonderful to have their support and to be able to share this week with them. While I may wear the medals, I wouldn’t be who or what I am without my family. They are my foundation.” Sgt. 1st Class Charles Reeves, Lafayette Recruiting Company, Opelousas Station
Station Commanders Ge BATON ROUGE, La. – Before the Annual Leadership Conference had ended, Baton Rouge Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Jose Torres was alerting his fusion cell to prepare for action on ideas and initiatives he had come up with during the training, targeting one in particular - “The Station of Excellence.” Witnessing the “Charge of the Station Commander” signing ceremony by USAREC Command Sgt. Major Todd Moore, drove the point home. “This is a great opportunity to re-energize ownership in station commanders and to establish a vision where they can use their leadership skills and lead their team together towards excellence,” said Torres. Torres explained that station commanders hold a leadership position, not only for leading the stations to success and recruiting the best for the Army, but also as ambassadors and role models in the community. To the community, recruiters are the face of the Army. “The station commander is the commander on the ground who has the most up to date situational awareness of our communities. [He or she] has the capability to influence the way our community perceives the Army and in turn how our community supports our recruiting efforts,” said Torres. On their return flight, Torres and Baton Rouge Battalion Command Sgt. Major Michael Mathis designed a poster listing the criteria and standards required to become a “Station of Excellence.” “We wanted something visual the soldiers could see every day to track their progress,” stated Torres. The posters are part of the station inspection plan and their progress is reported at the end of each month. To achieve a “Station of Excellence,” stations must meet all five specific screening criteria, eight out of 10 centralized evaluation criteria and eight out of 10 local evaluation criteria. These specific criteria were selected by Recruiting Command as a standard for all stations. 12
Sgt. 1st Class Mario Peete, Southaven station commander, tackles the leadership reaction course with other Memphis Company Station Commanders at Camp Shelby in December.
The next step was to develop a station commander leadership course designed to get leaders back to the basics of recruiting and taking care of Soldiers. In early December a, “Back to Basic” training camp was held at Camp Shelby, Ms. “We ate in the DFAC, slept in the barracks and trained in the field,” said Torres. “This placed the focus back on what the Future Soldiers will experience once they ship.” The beginning of the training camp began with a SWOT briefing from the top and bottom 10 stations. The open discussion afterward opened the floor to share best practices. Lafayette Main Station Commander, Staff Sgt. Christopher Willmouth says that one of his best practices is “to have the Future Soldier talk to an active duty soldier in the MOS that they are choosing. It helps them to see the Army as a career not a job,” He adds, “It confirms their commitment to hear about why that Soldier loves his chosen specialty.” Rough Rider
The discussion moved toward preventing Future Solider losses, and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Gordon, Corinth Ms. station commander, commented on his best practice, “it helps Future Soldiers reinforce their decision if they give their recruiters a commitment each time they meet; whether on the phone or face to face.” On day two of the camp, station commanders tackled the leadership reaction course to stimulate skills learned in basic, to train on leadership abilities and critical thinking, and sometimes learning to take the back seat and let someone else lead. Maj. Mitchell Mabardy, New Orleans company commander thought the course was excellent. He said, “The comments that I heard was that it was one of the best team building events that they have participated in.” “From my perspective, it allowed the unit to do a team building event that was challenging and exciting at the same time,” Mabardy said. “ I have noticed more positivity among our leaders since the course, less of a competition between stations and more of a team concept.” Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Dwight Dyess, spoke to the station commanders on what it means to be a leader and the promise of duty, country and honor among leaders. “The one word in leadership that always means failure is the word ’I’,” Dyess said. “Those that use the word ‘I’ are not thinking of the team.
During the awards ceremony, each station commander read the “Charge to the Station Commander” out loud and then signed the “Station Commanders Creed” alongside Command Sgt. Maj. Mathis, reaffirming their commitment to the mission and the Soldiers they lead every day. A large poster of the charge was signed by everyone, and is on display in the battalion headquarters. During the Annual Training Conference in December, breakout sessions were held for company commanders, 1st Sgts, and station commanders to target their training needs for the upcoming year. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Zachary said “our trainers designed tailored classes for the station commanders teaching them new doctrine, focusing on resiliency training and mission essential communication skills. This was important for them to learn first, so that they can train their recruiters at station level.” Station commanders and recruiters brought back lessons learned on what it takes to achieve a “Station of Excellence” and know what “Right Looks Like”. “Right looks like a Soldier who lives the Army Values; communicates and enforces standards, uses teamwork as key to success, takes care of his family and team members and strives to reach its units vision,” said Torres. Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Lanaux, Covington station commander, said that his vision for the upcoming year is “to become a station known for honest, hardworking Soldiers that have fun recruiting new Soldiers.” Lt. Col. Jose Torres, Baton Rouge battalion commander, advises Sgt. 1st Class Richard Conerly, Tiger Town Recruiting station commander, on achieving his goal of becoming a Station of Excellence.
A Day on the Lake with Staff Sgt. Charles Ellis Story and Photos by Mike Giles, Mississippi Sportman’s Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Date: January 21st 2011 Location: Lake Tom Bailey, Toomsuba, Mississippi Current weather conditions: 22 degrees with bright bluebird skies, 10 to 15 mph winds on the second day after a cold front passed through. 9:00: I meet Iraqi war veteran Charles Ellis at his home in Marion and quickly load my gear into his Stratos boat and we start our short trip to Lake Tom Bailey. As it turns out, this is one of the most brutally cold days of the year so far. Conditions will be extremely difficult and our goal is to explore the lake under extremely tough conditions, and locate and catch bass. We were the only “brave” anglers to fish the lake this day. Cold weather fronts are great for getting the deer to move, but deadly on the old lockjaw for bass. 9:20: We arrive at the landing and quickly get a lake report from the officer on duty. Fishing has been sporadic and tough for most bass anglers due to a recent bout of extremely cold weather from multiple cold fronts passing through. 9:30: I back the Stratos 273 boat into the water and 14
Ellis launches his boat and our day begins with a frigid greeting from Mother Nature in the form of a stiff wind and sub-freezing temperatures. 9:40: Due to the extreme cold, Ellis elects to start fishing at the ramp and take advantage of some prime fishing spots before heading across the lake. Ellis begins fishing with a Bandit 300 series Louisiana Shad colored crankbait along the landing and dock area. “I always fish the landing and dock after launching,” said Ellis. “For some reason I almost always catch a bass or two from this area.” On more than one occasion Ellis has caught multiple bass here, right after launching his boat. With frigid temperatures and clearer than normal water the bass don’t cooperate on this trip. Ellis advises anglers to fish this spot after launching and to follow up just before leaving the lake. Either a lipless crankbait or medium running crankbait are good bets. 9:50: Ellis moves to a rock filled riprap point and works it over with the crankbait. “I like to cast that crankbait out and bump the bottom and try to get a reaction bite,” Ellis said. Ellis continued working the shallow water Rough Rider
point with no takers before switching lures again. The avid angler quickly picks up a shaky head rig and pitches it near the rock point. “There’s a couple of rocks that come way out here,” he continued as he pointed to an area off the rock point. “I try to bump that shaky head rig on those rocks to trigger bites, and I’ve had good results doing that right here.” After spending a few minutes working the spot we pick up and move again. 10:00: We move further towards the main lake and stop at a grass mat. Though the mat is dead, it is the only cover in the area except for a couple of brushtops located along the edge of the mat. Ellis hopes the cover will hold a few bass trying to escape the bright sunshine and high pressure conditions that were left after the front passed. Ellis works the mat deliberately and targets each opening and hole and specifically hits any wood cover near the mat. Ellis worked around the mat making precision flips and pitches like a seasoned pro. “I worked around this mat 4 times before I got a bite,” Ellis said. On his 11th pitch to the shallow brushtop located on the edge of the mat, Ellis enticed a lunker bass to bite his offering, an ultra vibe speed craw! Defying conventional wisdom of targeting the same piece of brush so many times without getting a bite, he showed that tenacity pays off. Sometimes it takes a different lure to do the job, and other times it just takes persistence to get the bass mad enough to strike by repeatedly knocking on their door. If at first you don’t succeed. . .then keep on keeping on. 10:15: Ellis moved further out into the main lake and targets a shallow water flat with standing timber by working the crankbait. The skilled angler quickly and efficiently covers the area thoroughly without a strike. The bass are obviously not at home or have a severe case of the lockjaw as Ellis keeps banging the crankbait into, over and around all types of wood cover. 10:30: Ellis moves again and stops along the rocks right off the dam. “I’m going to work the rocks because the water is sometimes slightly warmer on bright sunny days like today and the baitfish and bass might be in the area as a result,” said Ellis. He continues working the rocks by casting along the edge and working the bait all the way to the boat, covering different depth zones. We’re positioned in 7 to 8 feet of water casting to the edge of Rough Rider
the rocks with crankbaits and chatterbaits. On at least two occasions Ellis brushes against submerged cover and detects what he thinks are light strikes, but comes away without a hook up. The extreme cold has really shut the bass down. 10:50: Ellis switches to a Strike King Redeye Shad lipless crankbait and works the lure along the rocks in a back and forth, up and down motion. “Look at that big buck running those does,” Ellis said suddenly. Two does came running out of the woods in a helter skelter fashion and stopped for an instant as the buck charged towards them. They were across the lake running along a grass bank and the buck had a large rack and huge body. We were still trying to settle back down to our task at hand when twenty minutes later the trio came back through again. This time the buck stopped for a few minutes and seemed even larger. Unfortunately for us we were fishing while the biggest buck of the year pranced by enticingly! As the action subsided, we continued working the rocks with a variety of lures in this area without any further strikes. 11:15: We move to the intake structure along the dam and Ellis pitches a jig along one of the piers and the lure never makes it to the bottom. He sets the hook and there is nothing there. The bass obviously struck and spit it out instantly after mouthing it. Ellis graphs the bottom in the area around the spillway intake structure and detects submerged wood structure along the bottom in 11 to 15 feet of water, but no fish are detected holding tight. We work the concrete structure and the area around it with no luck. “I caught a nice bass on the backside of the structure on a Ribbitt frog,” Ellis said. “That’s a tough bait in this lake during warm weather, one you always want to throw during the warmer months.” 11:30: Ellis decides to change tactics once again and we pull out the deep water lures. “We’ve tried the shallow and mid-depths in this lake so we’re going to try the deeper water and see if we can get a bite,” he said. “This cold weather and high pressure may have them relating tight to cover, or in the deeper water along the channel ledges. After graphing the area out in front of the dam Ellis locates a 14 to 17 feet ditch with 9 to 11 feet of water along the edges. He switches to a Rapala 20 plus
See “Ellis” page 18
The New Army Physical Readiness
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Army’s physical fitness test will soon be replaced by the Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT) and the Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT) focusing more on anaerobic exercise to match the skills needed in short duration, high intensity activities to best measure a Soldier’s performance on the battlefield. Tests are gender neutral and age specific that align to the new Army Physical Readiness Training program, outlined in Training Circular 3-22.20, that began Army-wide implementation in August. The two tests will be conducted at eight installations as part of a pilot program, where standards will be also developed. The battalion will implement the training at company level once the standards and expectations have been released. “All of the trainers want to make sure that we implement a training program to the companies that is timely and accurate so that they can turn around and conduct the new APRT to their recruiters,” said Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Carnegie, Baton Rouge battalion trainer. “Today’s PT test does not adequately measure components of strength, endurance, or mobility,” said Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “We needed to come up with a program for the incoming young soldiers who were not as focused on health, fitness and nutrition.” The old test was based on aerobic exercise or lower intensity activities over longer periods of time, comprised of three events: two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run. The proposed pilot test sites are: Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Jackson, S.C., Fort Bliss, Texas; West Point, N.Y., Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Lewis, Wash.
Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT): This test is a balanced battery of physical assessments that measures Soldiers’ strength, endurance and mobility. • 60-yard progressive shuttle run. This event measures lower-body muscular strength, anaerobic power, speed, agility and coordination; all important attributes contributing to successful Soldier physical performance. • Rower (1-minute). This event measures totalbody muscular endurance, coordination and trunk stability. • Standing Long Jump. This event measures lower-body muscular strength, power and coordination. • Push-up (1-minute). This event measures upper-body muscular endurance and trunk stability. • 1.5-mile Run. This event measures lower-body muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, speed and stability. Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT): This test measures the physical performance of Soldier skills through a “tactical run” immediately followed by negotiation of multiple obstacles that challenge the strength, endurance and mobility needed to successfully accomplish Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. • 400-meter Run with Weapon. This event measures total-body muscular endurance, anaerobic power, coordination, speed and stability; as well as individual Soldier movement with a weapon. • Individual Movement Techniques. Negotiation of obstacles that require vaulting, hurdling, crawling, balance and movement while aiming the weapon that challenges Soldiers’ body management competencies and kinesthetic awareness. • Casualty Drag. This event measures muscular strength, endurance and power utilizing a weighted SKEDCO (Army equipment used to transport a casualty). • Ammo Can Shuttle Sprint. This event measures muscular strength and endurance under movement; as well as the performance factors of agility, coordination, speed, stability and power. Agility Sprint. This event measures lower-body anaerobic power and speed that a Soldier can call upon to sprint to the ACRT finish line. Rough Rider
Test and Army Combat Readiness Test
The Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT), planned to replace the current APFT, expands from three to five events, eliminates sit-ups, increases the pace of push-ups, and replaces the long-distance run with shorter-faster runs. The five events include: 60-yard shuttle run, one-minute rower, standing long-jump, one-minute push-up, and a 1.5 mile run. These events will more accurately test a Soldiers anaerobic and aerobic endurance while reducing the risk of injuries. (below) Illustrations of the correct way to perform the Rower in the updated APRT.
“Ellis” from page 15
and combs the channel and the adjacent ledge. “Maybe I can bounce it off of the ledge or structure and get a reaction bite,” Ellis said. “Sometimes that’s the only way to get a bite in this weather.” 11:55: Ellis puts down the crankbait, switches gears and slows down further as the wind starts howling. “Normally I like a breeze, but the wind doesn’t help the fish this deep, just makes it tough on us,” said Ellis. “I’m going to probe the channel and the ledge to see if we can find any structure and bass.” As we continue working the ledges Ellis finds a submerged point about 11.5 feet deep with structure right on the side of a ledge. Ellis suddenly snaps to attention and reaches out slightly and jiggles the rod a few times, shaking the jig in the brush. Wham! “There he is,” exclaimed Ellis excitedly. Instantly he reared back and drove the steel hook deep into the jaws of a lunker bass. By the time the bass felt the sting of the hook it came unglued and fought wildly, and shot up like a torpedo. For a short time it was touch and go as the bass fought like a summer time lunker, not like a lethargic winter time bass. As the bass swam near the boat it busted the surface and thrashed wildly in a futile attempt to escape. Alas the expert angler had driven the hook deep into the upper jaw of the bass, and it had no chance of escape. Ellis had worked hard at locating the bass and even harder in enticing it to strike. The lunker bass succumbed to a black and blue Red Eyed Dydhebyte jig with a blue Paca Craw trailer. To catch a quality bass such as this on a bitterly cold winter day under extreme conditions in deep water was truly a fine feat indeed and worthy of taking note of. 1:15: After working the submerged channel and picking up a bass and a few bites it’s time to move again as the wind picks up and makes it impossible to fish the submerged channel effectively. We move across the lake into a semi-sheltered cove. Ellis alternates between a crankbait and a jig trying to find another spot with active bass in the vicinity. When he finds no takers he picks up the jig and probes the shallow water stick ups. “See that laydown tree right there?” asked Ellis. “Almost every time I stop here I catch a bass, even though it’s pretty shallow.” As he related the story of his last trip to the lake with Keith Lee, he pitched the jig into the top. Wham! Sure enough, a nice bass smashed the lure and he was right on the money again. “Keith couldn’t believe I’d scored on the brush top again,” said Ellis. 1:30: Moving further into a cove a lined with shallow standing timber and brush in 4 to 6 feet of water Ellis picks up a white Chatterbait and starts working the 18
cover. “This is a prime area for catching bass on a chatterbait,” he continued. “The bass usually relate to the cover in here during warmer weather and we catch them on buzz baits and topwater lures.” Ellis keeps working the cover and banging the lure into the wood structure in search of another bass with no takers. Chatterbaits have a pulsating, throbbing blade action that attracts cold weather bass by sight and vibration. However, none are in this area or taking our offerings so we move on again. 2:30: We move to the docks in the center of the lake and work the pier and pilings over from one end to the other. “This is another hot spot during warmer weather,” said Ellis. “I’ll work under the pier and bounce a jig off of the poles and posts and draw reaction bites from nice bass.” It’s obvious by watching Ellis that he loves what he does and is an avid angler who doesn’t
quit until the last cast of the day is done. After working the lower side of the pier we make one last move towards the launch area as the winds are howling and cold is bearing down on us after several hours on the water. 3:00: We head back to the launch area to hit a few spots before taking out. As it turned out not another boat dared venture onto the lake on this sub-freezing day. Though it took a toll on the fish and kept everybody else at home, Charles Ellis never missed a beat as he continued plying his talents and effort into locating and catching more bass. After flipping another grass mat several times we move back to another riprap area in hopes of catching one more bass. Ellis switches back to a shaky head in hopes of enticing a bass into striking by shaking the lure ever so slightly. “I usually catch bass along these rocks with a shaky head,” Ellis said. “If you shake that lure enough you can sometimes attract and See “Ellis” page 21
WHERE Y’AT?? Definition:
1. New Orleans slang to discover where someone is geographically located 2. New Orleans slang to politely ask how things have been going for a person in general
Upcoming Battalion Events: Baton Rouge Company Grassroots Advisory Board, September 27 Jackson Company Grassroots Advisory Board, September 29 Army All-American Bowl Selection Tours, Oct 20- Dec 15, BN wide Tulane Football Game Military Appreciation Night , Nov 11, New Orleans Veteran’s Day, November 11 Thanksgiving, November 24 11th Annual Army Red Stick Bowl, Dec 17, Baton Rouge Christmas, December 25 Army All-American Bowl, January 7, 2012 Rough Rider
The spirit of volunteerism
Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Reeves listens to a child from the Ronald McDonald house on one of his many visits.
OPELOUSAS, La. – Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Reeves and his spouse, Sybil, have volunteered over 10 years to the Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Volunteering at St. Jude’s began as an internship project for his wife as she was attending college. Reeves began when he became a Recruiter in Tupelo, Ms. Reeves’ has volunteered for three hours every other weekend at the hospital by playing guitar and singing children’s songs for prayer breakfasts, luncheons, holiday programs and other events for the families. “Sometimes a family just needs to talk,” said Reeves. “My wife and I are here to have that shoulder to lean on or just to make conversation about something other than the child’s sickness.” “Some families you see for a while and some you see once or twice but you always remember the stories.” said Reeves. The spirit of his volunteerism comes from his family and religion. Reeves’ wants instill that spirit into his own children. As a Soldier, Reeves says that it helps him be a better leader in his station by living the Army values every day. “A Soldier will ask for little but give you everything,” said Reeves. “If people see a Soldier volunteering, serving his country every day and still has time for more maybe that will inspire them.” “It is not easy to do it all, but you can carve out time to have a good family life, volunteer, build on your education and be a good Soldier,” said Reeves. 20
“Jackson” from page 8
symbolism of ‘hey parents, we know you are afraid and nervous, you aren’t alone, here’s how you can get through this tough time and make it better for your son or daughter during this transition’.” The 2011 General Colin L. Powell Service Award was presented to Emily Gibson, a high school guidance counselor at Neshoba Central High School for her support for high school students desiring service in all branches of the armed forces. She provides academic and career counseling and coordinates presentations and activities for military recruiters. OCS increases morale among the future military enlistees, increases public support and joins the young people together in their shared mission. “The event offers everyone the opportunity to better our community, our Army and our Nation. I surely hope that it provides a vision for many of our youth, as well as their parents, to work towards achieving their goals in life, ultimately building a greater nation,” said Torres. The program was created in 2009 by Dr. Kenneth Hartman who saw the need to honor seniors who chose a different path beyond college outside of their high school graduation service. Across the United States, local communities conduct banquets each year with coordination from local volunteers, civic organizations, active and retired military, high school educators and community leaders.
(left to right) Future Soldiers, Josten Savage and Michael Withrow from Philadelphia High School, stand with their Recruiters, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Chowske and Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Horn during the enlistment ceremony at Our Community Salutes in Jackson, Ms.
the new www.goarmy.com Contextual Landing Pages/2.9 Site ReIf you haven’t visited the www.goarmy.com recently, please do - as you’ll find some very intriguing content! design: The goarmy.com site has been optimized to The Agency has been hard at work developing the site, increase ease of use, implement a universal “contact us” and it recently went live. Here is some additional infor- navigation and pull in more dynamic and social content mation regarding the redesign, and some of the compo- from a variety of Army branded sources. As part of this more modular approach, the site will also be able to nents that are included in the site: serve up more contextually relevant content based on At the Ready: At the Ready is an interactive, im- where the user comes from; for instance, if a user clicks mersive experience that puts prospects directly in the on an Education-themed banner, the homepage they boots of various Army soldiers, where they can see just land on will feature content and imagery that speaks speone small aspect of what these Soldiers do in a day. cifically to those benefits as well as address head-on any These interactive experiences begin with a briefing from known or perceived barriers within that context. Please a real Army Soldier who describes the job and teaches note, this 2.9 launch is just phase one of the redesign; in you a little something about the skills required. Then a April, the full 3.0 redesign will go live. video scenario plays out in a first person point-of-view and the user is asked to decide what to do next based I’ve Got Skills: An episodic program that features on what they learned in the briefing. The user makes Army Soldiers from a wide variety of jobs paired with civilians in the sports world who perform similar tasks. decisions and, based on their choices, the experience continues or users are reminded of their earlier briefing Promotes the many options available in the Army and in order to bring the scenario to a successful conclusion. illustrates how the skills you learn in the Army can be carried over and leveraged in your civilian career. This program will be accessible via the homepage of goarmy.com. “Ellis” from page 18
entice bass into striking.” Just one more cast, one more cast, one more bass that was our hope. 4:00: With the sun dipping low on the horizon and the temperature falling once again, it was time to take a few more photos call it a day while we still had some daylight left. Although the cold front and extreme weather had taken a toll on area anglers, Charles Ellis had beaten the odds and located fish and coaxed a few into biting. Though we didn’t catch everything that bit, our day had been a success under extreme conditions. Though January fishing trips can be hit or miss, if you pick the right day and the weather is mild, bass may be caught with a little finesse and persistence. And if you’re really lucky, odds are good that you just might catch the lunker of a lifetime!
“School” from page 9
O’Perry Walker High School and enlisted into the Army Reserve. She plans to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to purse a degree in Pre-Med then into the Army Medical Scholarship program. “Our Future Soldiers are excited to be giving to their community,” said Maj. Mitch Mabardy, New Orleans company commander. “Community service is part of our Army values and this serves as a great learning experience for their future careers as Soldiers.”
Around The AO