Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier who assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Jerimiah Gan during a ceremony June 26, is known for his energy and passion.
His former boss USAG Ansbach commander Col. Steven M. Pierce, said “Anyone who has interacted with him knows of his positive energy and his passion for serving the Army and taking care of people.”
Tavernier sat down with Fort Jackson Public Affairs and answered a few questions to help the Fort Jackson community know him better.
Q. I see from your biography that you attended the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School. How will that help in your new role here since the Drill Sergeant Academy is located at Fort Jackson?
A. Serving as a drill sergeant has been the most rewarding assignment of my career thus far, and having that experience allows me to appreciate the hard work and dedication that comes with training and developing our future Soldiers.
Q. What principle actions or events in your life have led to your success as a Soldier?
A. The two most critical contributing factors to my success was graduating Ranger School and finding a mentor. Without a doubt, Ranger School is the Army’s premier leadership course. Although earning the Ranger tab doesn’t define you as a leader, it sets you apart from your peers, and broadens your aperture with endless opportunities. The second contributing factor is having a sound mentor who can provide raw and uncut feedback. I was fortunate to identify a leader with a leadership style I admired, respected, and wanted to emulate. Our Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System cannot teach us everything about serving as an exemplary leader, so it’s important to have a mentor that can answer questions and provide guidance on properly leading and developing Soldiers. I highly encourage Soldiers to develop mentor / mentee relationships throughout their careers to ensure our Army remains the most professional in the world.
Q. When and how did you determine you wanted to become a career Army noncommissioned officer?
A. Serving as a career Soldier was never my goal. I just wanted to serve a greater cause and hoped it would provide me some purpose and direction. To be quite honest… I never planned on making the Army a career, it just happened.
Out of high school, I wanted to attend college and pursue a career in the art industry, but I couldn’t afford it. So I joined the Army to “be all I could be” instead of going down a path of destruction. I simply focused on one assignment at a time and tried to be the best in that current position. After a few reenlistments, I realized I was halfway to retirement so I decided to just continue serving. Before I knew it, I was nearing 20 years, a command sergeant major, and all the young Soldiers were calling me a lifer. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Q. What do you see will be the difference about being the post command sergeant major and your last job as a garrison command sergeant major?
A. I truly believe serving as a garrison command sergeant major prepared me for the responsibilities as the post command sergeant major. As a garrison command sergeant major you get an opportunity to fully understand how to integrate the various systems and services throughout the organization. One of the biggest differences will be the sphere of influence and the ability to serve a broader audience.
Q. How important is family to you and what role has your family played in your military career?
A. Family is critically important to me. My Family is what keeps me grounded during tough times. The Army is a fighting force and will continue rolling along with or without me. Without hesitation, my wife consistently inspires me to serve as an exemplary citizen, and more importantly, an exemplary Soldier that leads by example.
Q. How important is Fort Jackson’s relationship with the local community and community leaders as well as professional relationships or partnerships throughout the state?
A. Fort Jackson’s relationship with the state of South Carolina, and more importantly, the City of Columbia is critically important to the success of our mission in training and developing our future Soldiers. One of General Beagle’s enduring initiatives is community outreach, which means we are always looking for ways to collaborate and participate with the community, and serve as good stewards of this great state. The City of Columbia’s recent recognition as the Great American Defense Community is a true testament to their support and loyalty to the military. We are a direct reflection of society and at the end of the day we are the community’s Army.