Aug. 24, 2011
New Virginia Guard senior enlisted leader shares vision for future
By Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne
Virginia Guard Public Affairs
SANDSTON, Va. — Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Green assumed the position of Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader July 11 and will serve as the senior enlisted advisor to Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia. In his new position Green, who most recently served as command sergeant major of the 29th Infantry Division, will provide leadership to the Airmen and Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard and support the AG’s mission, goals and objectives.
Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Green (center) assumed the position of Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader July 11 and will serve as the senior enlisted advisor to Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, the Adjutant General of Virginia. In his new position Green, who most recently served as command sergeant major of the 29th Infantry Division, will provide leadership to the Airmen and Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard and support the AG’s mission, goals and objectives. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)
“I am pleased to announce that Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Green has agreed to accept my offer to serve as the Virginia National Guard State Senior Enlisted Advisor,” Long said. “I look forward with great anticipation to working with Command Sgt. Maj. Green as we continue to strive to make the Virginia National Guard the best in the nation and a source of pride to the citizens of the commonwealth.”
One of Green’s first actions was to establish a council of senior command sergeants major and chief master sergeants from the Army and Air Guard and Virginia Defense Force to provide enlisted members with a direct voice to the AG.
Another goal is to visit each armory in the state to visit with training and readiness noncommissioned officers to make sure they understand the AG’s vision, roles, responsibilities, mission goals and objectives.
“Some of those come from the Army, some from National Guard Bureau and some from the governor of Virginia,” Green said. “So there are a lot of requirements on our Soldiers and Airmen and they need to be familiar with all of them.”
Green, who has served in the Virginia Army National Guard for more than 26 years, has seen both the Army and the Virginia National Guard change over the years and is familiar with the stress some of those changes have caused to both members, employers and their families.
“I’ve seen the force go from a strategic course to an operational one,” Green said. “When you do that, you have to change the way you do business.”
As a result, there are many more requirements of today’s Soldiers and Airmen but limited time to get everything done.
“The average Guardsman no longer just serves the traditional two weeks a year, one weekend a month,” he said. “In the last eight years, as a traditional Soldier, I averaged eight to 10 days a month for the Guard.”
The requirements have made it more difficult for Guard members to balance their military duties with their civilian jobs and families. But the military has come to realize this and puts greater emphasis on the overall wellness of its members, according to Green.
“It used to be if you were MOS (military occupational specialty) qualified, you were physically fit,” he explained. “But now the Army has gone to total Soldier fitness- family, physical, social, spiritual, emotional.”
During his civilian career Green has served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and in education administration. He feels these experiences have helped him as a Soldier and leader enabling him in his new position to lead, direct and guide.
“As a Soldier we talk about mentoring and counseling,” he said. “It’s no different from what you do as a teacher and a mentor and a coach.”
Both fields are about growing, learning and guiding people on how to do meet expectations , Green explained.
“In education we call it licensure. You have to be licensed to be an educator,” he said. “In the Army it’s MOSQ (military occupational specialty qualified) and in the Air Force it’s AFSC (Air Force specialty code).”
Green feels that the key to leading and mentoring servicemembers is to be able to identify with the person with whom you’re communicating.
“It’s a matter of getting to know folks, finding out who they are and what they’re about,” Green said. “Then you try to communicate with them and encourage them to be proactive to take care of themselves in both their civilian life and military life.”
Despite all the changes to the Virginia Guard he’s seen in his more than two decades in uniform, Green said both the performance and capabilities of the organization have never been better, whether at home or abroad.
“When we’ve been given a mission in the Guard, we’ve proven that we can execute that mission and do a pretty good job if given the time to prepare for it,” he said. “Look at the floods, fires, hurricanes and snow support we’ve responded to in support of the governor. Our Soldiers and Airmen have helped save life and limb providing assistance to people in many Virginia communities.”