Veteran’s Unit: Collaboration And Leadership
By Noah Angeles
It was slightly past noon on July 6, 2004. I was standing guard with another soldier at an entry control point at the port of Shuaiba, Kuwait, 90 miles from the Iraqi border. The temperature was 120 degrees and I was on my eighth hour of a 12-hour shift, sweaty and weighed down with heavy gear. I was alert, but at the same time escaping into thoughts of home: My mother was celebrating her fiftieth birthday and the party for her was just another occasion I would miss during my year-long deployment. With four more hours to go, I was tired and hungry, but most importantly I was hoping to get back to the base in time to call my mother.
In the tenth hour of my watch, a car approached. It was Staff Sergeant Darlin Glover. He told me he had learned that we were on duty for over eight hours and figured we were hungry. He then proceeded to open the back of his jeep revealing trays of hot food for us. After we finished eating, he walked over to me and said, “Sergeant Angeles, I heard it’s your mother’s birthday. I want you to report back to base camp immediately and give her a call. You have 30 minutes — I’ll guard your post until you come back.”
While driving back to base I could not help but wonder what would impel a higher-ranking non-commission officer to risk his life patrolling a checkpoint so that an enlisted man could call his mother. My conclusion: leadership.
Staff Sergeant Glover led with empathy, demonstrated the importance of teamwork, and put the needs of his soldiers before his own. His actions that day have had a lasting impact on me and have ultimately shaped my approach to leadership.
As a current principal, I strive each day to lead by example, just as he did. The impact of my military experience on my role as a school leader is not unique. There are many CSA members who have served in the armed forces and have relied on their
military training to lead their schools successfully.
It is in these shared experiences and deep commitment to service that unite the members of the CSA Military Veterans Council. Made up of active and retired CSA members, the council was officially formed last year. During our first year we worked collaboratively with the UFT Veterans Committee to participate in the opening ceremony of the New York
City’s Veterans Day Parade. Together, we presented a wreath on behalf of the CSA and UFT.
On a more substantive level, our collaboration with the UFT committee has extended to lobbying the New York
City Council and the Department of Education to provide training for school counselors on veteran’s benefits. We recognize that as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many students in our public schools are children of veterans
and along with their family members are entitled to certain benefits about which they may be unaware. For example, families of veterans can receive free mental health support and job placement services.
Additionally, children of veterans can be entitled to certain scholarships to assist with the costs of college. By ensuring that each school has at least one person trained in veteran’s benefits, our schools can better serve as a bridge for their communities.
We are working to host a leadership conference for CSA members, and we also are exploring ways to help schools honor veterans. We would like to encourage any CSA member that is also a military veteran to attend our meetings and get involved.
For more information, please contact Mark Brodsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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