By: Adrienne Vititoe
With the rate of advancing technology and its application to modern warfare, some have proposed that the Army is a thing of the past. Brigadier General Karen Gibson begs to differ.
“The army is more relevant today than it has ever been,” Gibson, who spoke to CLC and CIET first regiment cadets Tuesday night, said. “Conflict, whether it’s happening in the air, on the sea, on the ground or in cyberspace, is inherently and fundamentally a human endeavor.”
Gibson reminded the cadets that leadership is still a relevant concept as well.
“The fundamentals of leadership are no different today than they were a decade or 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” she said.
“Being a leader is not about giving orders. Being a leader is about leading by example. It’s about living the Army values and demonstrating those for everyone else in your platoon. It’s about embodying the warrior ethos. It’s about being a model of conduct on and off duty. Being a leader means having the moral courage to always do what is right. Being a leader in today’s army means creating a positive climate where everybody in your unit is treated with respect and dignity. Being a leader means making the most of the resources you have been entrusted with. It’s about inspiring and motivating your soldiers to do things that they didn’t think they could do. Being a leader is not about demanding respect but earning it.”
Gibson offered some practical steps cadets could take in the right direction.
“You earn the respect of your soldiers by being true to your word. You earn the respect of your soldiers by enforcing standards. You earn the respect of your soldiers by showing that you genuinely care for them.”
Gibson made the cadets two guarantees:
• “As a platoon leader or a young officer you will make mistakes. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and you’ll get better.”
• “Whether you are reserve, guard, active duty or stay in garrison, whether you see combat or not, you are going to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
To conclude, she left them with these words: “Congratulations, good luck and God bless.”