ARTA RANGE, Djibouti -- U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn Carns, command senior enlisted leader (CSEL), Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), visited U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the East Africa Response Force (EARF), deployed in support of CJTF-HOA, as they conducted a live-fire exercise at Arta Range, Djibouti, Aug. 26.
As CSEL, Carns is the principal advisor to the CJTF-HOA commanding general on enlisted matters. The EARF, part of the 101st Division, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warrior, assigned to CJTF-HOA, is one of several units Carns is visiting within CJTF-HOA’s combined joint operations area as part of his battlefield circulation for familiarization and rapport-building.
“As a senior leader, it’s important for me to know how the service members are doing and understand what they are going through,” said Carns. “I can’t do that if I am not present. I also use my experience to mentor the first sergeants, company commander, platoon sergeants and squad leaders.”
During his visit at Arta Range, Carns met with the EARF Soldiers and observed them conducting a live-fire exercise as part of their readiness and certification requirements. The unit’s main training objectives were to complete squad attacks and maneuvers, and to engage targets.
“Live fires are a stepping-stone for them [the EARF] to get ready,” said Carns. “Working together on the ranges builds a cohesive team and squad, and helps prepare them to do their mission. I was very impressed with the EARF leadership and with the Soldiers going through the range.”
The EARF Soldiers were appreciative of Carns’ time and attention.
“It felt real good to see the CSM come out and see what we are doing,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Jeremy Lequire, an infantryman grenadier in the EARF. “It gave us more motivation. It was good support, and it showed he cared. It feels good to know that someone with as much experience as he has feels impressed with what we are doing. It means we are doing it right.”
Carns, from Indiana, Pennsylvania, enlisted in the Army in July 1992 as an Infantryman and has served in every key leadership position in the Infantry, from team leader to command sergeant major.
“I love seeing infantrymen and women perform their duties,” said Carns. “As a leader, you should be out there with them as much as possible. Be present with the Soldiers, set examples, and mentor them. How can we expect what we don’t inspect? How can we mentor if we aren’t out there seeing what’s going on? You have to be present with your service members.”