Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Army Guard selects new command sergeant major



By Spc. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau

(1/14/10) -- Command Sgt. Maj. Richard J. Burch of the Nebraska National Guard has been named the new command sergeant major of the Army National Guard, Guard officials announced this week. He is scheduled to arrive here in February and says that he is looking forward to the experience.

“It’s a huge honor for me to be selected by the leadership of the Army National Guard,” said Burch. “With that honor comes responsibility. I’ve never been one to shirk responsibility. I’ve probably always sought out more responsibility.”

Burch, who has been in the Army National Guard for over 30 years, has worked in several different career fields, including quartermaster, recruiting and retention, human resources, and with an Area Support Group.

“I’ve got a diverse background that I can bring forward and be able to positively impact the future of the Army National Guard, the future of the Soldiers, and the challenges that they may face as they meet their career goals,” he said.

Burch said he looks forward to working with the Soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the Army National Guard nationwide, because “we have a lot to offer this great nation.”

As the top enlisted Soldier in the Army National Guard, Burch is in a position to continue the Army National Guard’s success, and ensure that all members are continuing their own successes.

“I am now the senior enlisted advisor for the director of the Army National Guard, and with that position title comes the responsibility to act on the behalf of all the enlisted Soldiers and noncommissioned officers of the Army National Guard.”

Burch also said the Army National Guard needs to not only ensure that it continues to maintain its mission focus, but take into account a Soldier’s welfare, which includes things such as family readiness, Soldier preparedness, and personal and professional growth.

One thing that Burch says he hopes to accomplish is to work with the Army to integrate the Army National Guard into the Army Career Tracker system.

“The integration of the (Army National Guard) into (this) system will allow us to take credit for what we have already done,” Burch said. “The Army Career Tracker system provides a place where Soldiers can go and track the things that they have done, not only in the military, but on the civilian side as well, such as college and universities.”

Meeting career goals is important for Burch, but like so many Soldiers today, he struggled initially to find his place among the ranks early in his career.

“When I first enlisted, I wasn’t real sure what my plans were in the Army National Guard,” he said. “Within three to four years of being in the Army National Guard, my whole outlook changed. I put myself into high gear and pushed myself do what I needed to do.”

Burch said it’s also important to focus on your family and spouse. “You have to find a balance that allows you to continue to progress on the professional side, but maintain the appropriate levels on the personal side as well. If you can’t find that balance, have someone to go to, such as a mentor to help you find that balance.”

From his perch as the new top enlisted Soldier in the Army National Guard, Burch has some advice for those in the junior enlisted ranks.

“Seek out those opportunities, because if senior noncommissioned officers know where you want to go, they can help you get there and provide you with potential expectations that you might see along the road that you’ll have to fulfill,” he said, adding: “Finding a mentor along the way is important as well.”

Burch said in his early days he looked to his company commander. “There were a few others along the way that also helped me to sustain that mind set and my drive to move forward.”

That drive has helped to propel himself to this new position. “I’ve had plenty of challenges, and it’s been a great ride so far,” he said. “I hope it continues.”

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