As III Corps and Fort Hood has recently changed commanders, I would like you to know, from my perspective, what that means to the community and Fort Hood.
In 1989, I was a first sergeant in an M1A1 tank company. I received a call from my battalion commander saying that I would be getting a new company commander. The battalion commander advised me that he was an up and coming, hard charging and no nonsense young captain that was ready to assume his first command. There is always a sense of uneasiness when a new commander arrives no matter what level, company, battalion, brigade, etc. and I wondered how this was going to go.
I had, at that time, about 19 years of service and had trained all my career to be a first sergeant, so I told the battalion commander that I was ready to work with whoever would be my next commander. This new commander was Capt. Paul Funk II. In my time in the Army, I had worked with a lot of Soldiers that I got along with professionally, but not personally, and a lot that I got along with personally, but not professionally.
Rarely was there a time when I got along with someone both professionally and personally. This was about to change. There is no other relationship in the Army as unique as that of a new company commander and his first sergeant. Units that perform well and have little disciplinary problems always have good leaders, and at the company level good leaders start with the commander and his first sergeant.
From day one, I knew that Capt. Funk would be an exceptional company commander. His concern for making sure we were doing everything right as a unit was evident in the way that he conducted himself in dealing with the company as well as the Families of all our Soldiers.
In the course of the next few months, our company proved itself by becoming the best in our battalion and brigade. We were statistically the best in tank gunneries and all other tasks that we were assigned. My respect for Capt. Funk grew because of the way that we were able to sit and discuss problems not as captain to first sergeant, but as equals, and although we didn’t always agree on everything, we worked matters out in a manner that always was best for the company.
Capt. Funk was the best and most qualified armor captain that I had ever had the pleasure of working with. In saying this, we were able to accomplish our mission because we also had some very good Soldiers in our unit. As Capt. Funk said, “Top, they are my officers and your enlisted Soldiers.”
After I retired, we were always able to keep in touch with each other and I was able to follow now Lt. Gen. Funk’s career and I know without a doubt that III Corps and Fort Hood and the community is in the very best capable hands of Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II.
Congratulations to you and Beth, and I wish you the best of luck in your command.