East Spencer native leaving post as noncommissioned officer in Germany
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The United States and her Army have seen many changes over the last 29 years. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the commitment of soldiers like Command Sgt. Maj. Darrin Jefferies in answering the call of duty, regardless of circumstances or location.
A native of East Spencer, Jefferies is the son of former mayor Erma Jefferies and the late William “Dreafus” Jefferies. He recently relinquished his responsibilities as the command sergeant major of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, a position he occupied since 2011. He served as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander on all enlisted matters, and despite having to leave many friendships and pleasant memories behind, Jefferies has always been one to look upon the positive side.
“It’s an opportunity for change, fresh ideas and new initiatives,” he said, stressing the opportunity for the noncommissioned officers and junior soldiers of the command to learn and grow under a different leader with a different perspective.
With a pending assignment to a similar position as the command sergeant major of the 32nd AAMDC at Fort Bliss, Texas, not to mention almost three decades of uniformed service under his belt, it would be understandable to think Jefferies might be counting the days until retirement. Nothing could be further from his mind, however.
“Leader development is the cornerstone of what we do, and teaching, coaching and mentoring the next generation of noncommissioned officers is the highlight of my duties and responsibilities,” said Jefferies, who will again serve as the senior enlisted advisor at his new assignment.
Jefferies not only believes in the professional development of NCOs to ensure they understand what is expected of them, but also in the leadership qualities that junior soldiers must pattern themselves after.
“Throughout the history of the Army the NCO has been there, training soldiers in peacetime and leading them in battle, leading by example and always out front,” said Jefferies.
For Staff Sgt. Alexander Moore, a Patriot missile technical expert with the 10th AAMDC, the example Jefferies sets not only in his professional appearance and actions, but attitude, will long be appreciated.
“His presence alone really anchors the organization. He genuinely cares about the welfare of the organization, and he treats people equally,” Moore said.
Jefferies’ time in the 10th AAMDC saw many deployments alongside missile defenders from allied countries, including rotations in Turkey, Israel, Poland and Bulgaria. Yet despite his soldiers having always completed every assigned mission successfully, Jefferies dismisses any direct involvement.
“I absolutely can’t take credit for any of the unit’s accomplishments,” said Jefferies, noting that he tried to set the conditions for soldiers to be successful. He’s especially proud of the quality training 10th AAMDC soldiers received while training with joint and multi-national partners.
Still, if there’s one lasting lesson Jefferies hopes to leave with his successor and the soldiers he leaves behind, he urges people to look no further than the “Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer” for needed inspiration.
“It’s critical that we have a solid foundation of strong leadership and professionalism. If you lose purpose, motivation or direction, for whatever reason, or become lackadaisical in your duties and scope, refer to one document that is your compass and that will keep you on azimuth,” he said.
Having witnessed first-hand many Army changes since he first took the oath of enlistment back in the 1980s, Jefferies knows that many things are cyclical. The one constant, however, remains the dedication of the American soldier.
“We have the most advanced, most capable weapon system in the arsenal, with the best trained and resourced Army in the world,” he said.
Force readiness issues, budgetary concerns and other readiness challenges affecting the Army may deter some, but for Jefferies they were just another opportunity to overcome some formidable challenges. And with the advanced capabilities of the Patriot PAC III system and 10th AAMDC soldiers already in place to defend critical assets, he didn’t mince words.
“The current situation doesn’t affect our ability to execute our mission essential tasks, anytime or anywhere,” said Jefferies.