The experience needed to run the government

A sergeant major is running for Congress. That's something special and important. If you don't understand why, read on.

Today I got an email that made immediately grabbed my attention. It said, "CVFC Endorses SgtMaj Kuiken for Texas-15. CVFC is Combat Veterans for Congress, and as a long ago enrolled member of that fraternity/sorority, I tend to pay attention to whom and what they endorse. With a goal of replacing professional politicians in Congress with those who have truly served their country as professional military leaders, but not at the politically-correct level of general/admiral rank, they have so far never led me wrong  in their recommendations.

But this was a first, and truly astounding. To my knowledge CVFC has never advocated for a sergeant major. Mind you, this isn't just any enlisted man; this is a sergeant major. For those of you AT readers unfamiliar with military ranks, sergeants-major are the top of the enlisted pyramid and of the millions who enlist, few ever get there. They are the winnowed, toughened  few, that select group of enlisted men who work their way into positions within the military hierarchy to a point where they actually wield power far greater than most commissioned officers below the rank of colonel.

Ask any old-hand Army or Marine Corps non-commissioned officer, "Who actually runs your battalion or brigade?" and they will quickly tell you, "The Sergeant Major." Yeah, the colonel commands but it's the sergeant major who makes the whole damned organization function on a day to day basis. Ask them whose wrath they fear the most and the answer always will be the same. The reason for that is quite simple: sergeants major and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force, run our military. Officers may command, but sergeants major manage. If you doubt that truth, ask any old retired colonel.

I know all this because I was privileged to serve inside the battalion and brigade headquarters organizations where these sergeants major wield their tremendous power. As a very lucky young paratrooper infantry sergeant I was promoted to a battalion staff position where I had my first close-up opportunity to observe this power being applied and implemented, ever so cleverly and efficiently. I would later serve at a higher, brigade, level where the application of this power was even more impressive. I saw sergeants-major pick up phones and make deals with their counterparts on the far side of the country, and even the world, operating within a network of proven leaders/administrators who know what it takes to make the system function. I was no innocent neophyte; I had ground combat time in the Vietnamese jungle, but I tell you, I was awed by these men who wielded such power and influence in so many ways to improve the well-being of the troops for whom they were responsible.

The upshot here is that while I don't know much about candidate Kuiken, I am inclined to get in his corner and provide some support, financially or otherwise. This old paratrooper non-com happens to believe that America couldn't possibly go wrong by putting some Army and Marine Corps sergeants majors, Navy master chiefs or Air Force chief master sergeants in our Congress.

At least they know how to run big organizations efficiently.

And keep 'em on budget....