October 4, 2012 - U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marion E. Arnett,
command sergeant major TF Troubleshooter, strives to mature his
soldiers so that when he steps out of responsibility the Army will
be turned over to equal or greater care.
Photo by Army Sgt.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (10/12/2012) – Command Sgt. Maj.
Marion E Arnett, a native of Holt, Fla., is the 96th Aviation
Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force
Troubleshooter command sergeant major.
Arnett is a soldier
with a big sense of humor, deep southern accent and quick speech.
Underneath that sense of humor is a deep commitment to the soldiers
“I would not be here without the soldiers,
non-commissioned officers and officers behind me,” said Arnett.
“These soldiers are going to replace me. I want to try and pass down
what I've learned to the soldiers behind me. I try to make them
better when they step into my position.”
His passion for the
soldier and the family that comes with that soldier governs all of
“From day one, Command Sgt. Maj. Arnett has
advocated that it's not just the soldier, but the soldier's family
as well,” said Staff Sgt. Gary Jager, B Company, 96th ASB, 101st
CAB, TF Troubleshooter orderly room non-commissioned
officer-in-charge. “It doesn't matter if it's a spouse, parent or
sibling, if things are not well with the soldier, among the first
questions to ask is ‘how are things at home or back home?'"
Even when a soldier messes up and requires disciplinary
action, the family has to be taken into account, Arnett
said. Whatever affects the soldier affects the family. You
have to look at both.
Looking at his own family,
Arnett realizes that he is not alone in his career. He
realizes that soldiers need good friends and strong families
to best endure the lifestyle that the Army often requires.
“The military is very difficult on the family,” he said.
“There's no way I could do this without my family.”
Melinda Arnett, Arnett's wife of 18 years, agrees. She and
her husband have created a successful Army career and
sustainable leadership style by making sure that the soldier
and the family are interconnected.
told us that without our love he would not be where he is
today,” said Melinda in comments emailed to Task Force
Destiny public affairs. “The love we've given him has been
received great, it has always made him a better leader
looking at the soldier and his family.”
his career, taking care of soldiers and families has been a
driving force, particularly when he spent time as a drill
The parents are so shocked to see their
children as such different people, Arnett said. To do in
nine weeks what they couldn't in 20 years is totally
shocking to them.
Being a drill sergeant wasn't
always a cake walk for Arnett, but the rewards were worth
it. Arnett also got a lot of personal satisfaction out of
creating soldiers out of the men who came to Fort Benning,
Ga., while he was a drill sergeant.
“We work a lot of
long hours,” he said. “The difficult part is getting them
out of the civilian side of the house. Once you see that
happen, it's a good feeling. Once they realize they're part
of a team, and that's the biggest thing, you can't ask for
anything better than that.”
The work that Arnett puts
in is all about the soldiers, but another big aspect of his
life is his family. His father worked at Eglin Air Force
Base, Fla., and his mother was a housewife.
father said to me, 'There's nothing out there for you,'”
said Arnett. “'You have to earn it. Never give up hope on
anything you want.'”
His father would live to see his
son achieve the highest enlisted rank in the Army.
“My dad promoted me to command sergeant major,” he said. “I
had never seen my dad cry before. He was real proud of me.”
As with all things in the Army, careers are made by
the people you interact with on a daily basis. It shows when
a leader genuinely cares for the welfare of his soldiers.
“About two weeks ago he handed me a small stack of
calling cards,” said Jager. “I knew what he'd say before he
said it. ‘Get these out to the soldiers, make sure they're
calling their families and letting them know how they're
doing. These soldiers need to be able to call home and know
the family is all right.'"
With a proud family
behind him, Arnett can enjoy the rewards of being an
“I never thought I'd be 51 and
doing this, never in my entire life,” said Arnett. “I'm most
proud of all my soldiers that I have now.”
By Army Sgt. Duncan Brennan
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