Having worked for “1SG Ron Martin” twice in my career, I can testify to the relentless pursuit of imaginative training methods by this exceptional Sergeant. Over the years I have described the author as a leader, a trainer and friend whose mind never rested; and I think this book captures the true essence of his personality, the intensity of his convictions and the sometimes controversial methods he advocated (this tome ain’t exactly a road-map to the Sergeant Major of the Army job, young reader). But it is a study guide of sorts. There are numerous deeds to emulate and a few slit-trenches to side-step.
While training methodology is an evolutionary certainty in the Army, devotion to the troops is a constant. For those of us “fortunate” few who were mentored (badgered, harassed, bludgeoned –pick one) by this unique Non-Commissioned Officer, we all knew that devotion to the troops was indelibly intertwined in his DNA. If, after reading this book, you think it more fiction than fact, you simply missed an opportunity to serve with the First Sergeant.
CSM (Ret) Steve Mohror
CSM of the National Training Center
and Fort Irwin 1996-2001
This is truly the story of a First Sergeant, and his trials and tribulations in the Post Vietnam days of the Cold War. These were times of old War Horses and new equipment and ideas. The good times and the bad times.
It deals with the petty politics, and the politically incorrect Army of that time. And how a First Sergeant navigated this minefield while keeping his sanity and performing the myriad of duties that kept a Cavalry Troop running at close to 100% efficiency, It was HIGH SPEED AND LOW DRAG.
The 11th Armored Cavalry was the definitive word in a combined arms team, a team that could and did, everything and then some, as part of the defense of Western Europe. This is their story and the story of a First Sergeant.
Having served with Command Sergeant Major Morgan, I can tell this story comes from his heart and his personal trials and tribulations in the United States Army at that time.
Sergeant First Class (SFC) Robert Henry
United States Army
The First Sergeants is a fantastic book. It stirred a lot of memories as I read about the life of the Border Cavalry in the 2 ACR’s sister unit, the Blackhorse. As a former Sergeant E-5, and a proud veteran of the Gulf War I, I had no way of knowing all of the things that occurred between the CSMs and 1SGs. I surely did not know the CSMs were so hard on 1SGs. It made me so very happy to read a book about the period that was so REAL.
This is an important book and should be required reading for everyone wearing Green Tabs in the Army today. I have no doubt it will be a commercial success. It has been a long time since I have read something that was so exciting. It is a page turner and I could not put it down. It made me proud to be a Cavalryman and proud to have known the 1SGs of the era, most of whom Ronald E. Martin represents so well. I cannot wait to read CSM Dick Morgan’s follow on book to see what Ron Martin is up to next.
State of Louisiana
Much has been written about leadership and training throughout the history of mankind. From military manuals and historical accounts to fictional stories, we as a race strive to learn the secrets of success used by great men and great leaders. Lack of leadership and training will, in no uncertain terms, always manifest in failure and tragedy. Proof of good leadership and training are constantly shown by success and victory. So the questions remain; how does one go about become a successful leader? How do you defeat the obstacles that lie in the path of a great training program?
Richard Morgan’s book The First Sergeants is a must read for modern military leaders, managers and supervisors alike. Having served with CSM Morgan as a Sergeant, E-5, and M1 Abrams tank gunner during his tenure as the Squadron Sergeant Major, I know firsthand how his influence, determination, insight and methods helped The First Squadron, Eleventh Armored Cavalry become not only successful, but legendary.
How does one become a successful leader and trainer? Keep up with “1SG Martin” and the book The First Sergeants and you will be on path to success and victory!
SFC Jeff McCree
US Army (Retired)
Team Abrams NETT
Great Book! I would call the First Sergeants my little secret. Experienced or inexperienced, junior or senior, corporate America or blue-collar supervisor, this book contains many fresh ideas to teach and demonstrate to leaders how to make their organization a success. Command Sergeant Major Dick Morgan takes you on a fun-filled and exciting journey that demonstrates what it takes to build winning teams and great organizations. Chapter after chapter, you will find many golden nuggets and pearls of wisdom wrapped in a creative and entertaining story of real heroes. This is a story of warriors who lived and thrived on the edge of Freedom’s Frontier every day, training and mentoring their cadre, developing and growing new young leaders and continuously preparing for combat and amidst all of the chaos, enjoying life to the fullest.
Kenneth O. Preston
Sergeant Major of the Army (Retired)
One day recently, my Granddaughter asked me what of all the events in my Army career, was the most memorable. When I said it was standing on the East West German border, watching the fall of the “Iron Curtain”, she had no idea what I was talking about. In fact, few under the age of thirty are even aware of, let alone understand, the confrontation of military forces in central Europe during the Cold War.
CSM Richard Morgan’s new book, The First Sergeants, is a personal account of life and leadership as a senior Non-commissioned officer in one of the most challenging assignments of the period. As the U.S. Army strove to overcome the “bad old days” of the post Vietnam era, leaders at all levels labored to develop the all Volunteer Army into a military force unparalleled in military history.
Troopers of the Border Cavalry Regiments will enjoy the story as CSM Morgan relates the experiences of a Cavalry First Sergeant. Tales of Border Tours, field training exercises, and gunneries describe the hectic life and constant challenge of standing tote-to-toe with Soviet forces and being prepared to fight the first battle of World War III. Lessons in leadership, personal responsibility, organization, planning and coordination fill the pages of this book.
The author of this book, served as the Command Sergeant Major of 1/11 ACR. During that time the Iron Curtain opened, the Regiment trained soldiers at Camp Colt for deployment to operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and then deployed to Kuwait as a peacekeeping force. Every First Sergeant in that command went on to become Sergeants Major and one of them Sergeant Major of the Army.
Having served in the Blackhorse with Dick Morgan as my CSM, I will always be indebted to him for this trust and confidence, his mentorship and his friendship, It was him and those like him that allowed me to stand on Freedom’s Frontier as we wrote the final chapter of the Cold War. Thank you Dick, Allons!
SGM (Ret) Tommy Whittaker
Dick Morgan’s wonderful novel “ First Sergeants” is the long overdue story of the indispensable role that Non-Commissioned Officers – aka NCOs, sergeants- play in the United States Army. Countless authors have written books lionizing military officers past and present, among the better being Meyer’s ‘Once An Eagle” and Griffin’s “Brotherhood of War” series. The “First Sergeants” unique perspective focuses on those special Solder is who execute the training plans and orders of these officers. A First Sergeant is the senior NCO of an Army Company, Troop or Battery. He ties that unit together-in the German Army he is affectionately referred to as “Mom”. Morgan takes us to the very forward edge of Freedom-the Fulda and Meinigen Gaps-during the Cold War, and shows on a macro level how the fall of the Communist Empire was orchestrated not only by diplomacy, but also through the 24/7/365 preparedness of small units charged with defending the west side of the Iron Curtain. On the micro level, he takes us inside the workings of an elite Armored Cavalry Troop-one identical to the one I myself commanded in Fulda-and shares with us the dedication to excellence, the personal competence and the unmatched work ethic of the Army’s NCOs that is no secret to any veteran and was no secret to the Red Army. Several years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, while trading stories with a former Red Army Officer, I asked what intimidated him the most about the US Army. He immediately answered, “Your Sergeants. They are what elevates your Army apart from all others.” Dick Morgan personally trained more of these Sergeants than any man I know. The book captures his methods, his madness and his passion for doing the right thing, always. Not only a great military yarn, it is a leadership primer based not in theory, but validated in the blood and sweat of Soldiers in far off places.
Commander Troop A, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Fulda, Federal Republic of Germany, 1991-1992