12 November 2009

Interview With MG Terry

MG Terry: Hello Jon, it's good to speak to you. I understand that you are an Alumni of Ft Drum?

Jon: That is correct Sir. I served with the 10th Mountain Division from Feb of 1991 until June of 1994. I started out of 1st Bn, 87th Infantry and then went to Somalia with B Co, 2nd Bn, 22 Infantry.

MG Terry: It sounds like you were leaving as I was coming into the unit. Who was your 1ST SGT when you were with Triple Deuce?

Jon: That was now retired SGM Burnell Haney.

MG Terry: It's a small world. He's my fishing guide now and he also works downstairs for me.

Jon: I met him again when I was activated here with the 107th MP company in 2002. He introduced me to Col Steele who felt the need to, once he found out I was in Mogadishu with SGM Haney, do his best to break my ribs with his ham hock sized fists.

MG Terry: You know that Col Steele was a pulling Guard for Hershall Walker in college right?

Jon: I have to admit that at the time, I wasn't very interested in college football.

MG Terry: I understand that you have some questions for me.

Jon: First sir, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. I have to admit that I am a little surprised and a bit intimidated that I have you on the phone with me. I was expecting more of an e-mail style interview where I could send you the questions and have you answer them at your convenience.

MG Terry: You don't need to be scared Jon. I'll go easy on you. (Laugh)

Jon: Thank you sir. I appreciate that. I would like to touch on several areas, to include your military experience, current operations and your personal life, if you have no objections.

MG Terry: I am looking forward to your questions.

Jon: This is a return to familiar terrain for you, in that you have served at Ft Drum previously. What are the biggest changes that you have seen since your return to Fort Drum, in the post?

MG Terry: As I said, I was up here at Fort Drum with 2/22 first from 1994- 1996 and we were the first off the deck of the Eisenhower and into Haiti. Then I came back in 2004 as Assistant Division Commander- Operations and in 2006-2007 I was in Afghanistan with the Division. I went by my old quarters from when I was with 2/22 and they are being renovated into Junior Enlisted quarters. On post we now have a Material Support section that works with the units returning from down range and
makes sure that their equipment is ready to go the next time that they have to deploy. We also have an increased amount of medical care available for the soldiers and families, where we used to have to go off post for most of that care in the past. We also now have a separate Installation Command as so that we don't have to pull soldiers from the Division command for a Rear Detachment. The Garrison commander now also works with Installation Command.

Jon: Your previous posting was with Tradoc (Training and Doctrine Command). When you were there, what were your major duties, in the realm of policy and procedure that helped train the new warriors entering the service?

MG Terry: Well, I was actually in acquisition and I worked with the new equipment that was being tested. I had a BCT that tested the equipment and we were there to determine how to fit the new equipment and its capabilities into doctrine and what doctrine needed to be adjusted to make sure that we got the most advantage out of the new equipment and how to allow the soldiers to network and spread intelligence and information quicker and easier.
Jon, you've heard about the Land Warrior system, right?

Jon: I have and if everything works the way it is expected, it will be a great piece of equipment for our troops that will help cut down on any friendly fire incidents.

MG Terry: Not only friendly fire incidents, it will increase the capabilities for our soldiers, in allowing them too know where civilians are, their fellow soldiers and where hostile forces are in a moment's notice.

Jon: How did that assignment prepare you for taking command of the 10th
Mountain Division?

MG Terry: It gave me an understanding and knowledge of how the new equipment would work and affect the current doctrine. It also gave me an insight into the way doctrine may be changed and adapted to give us more success in the future.

Jon: What is the biggest change that you had to make mentally, to prepare yourself for this assignment?

MG Terry: Well, I have to say that the Division staff has been great and worked incredibly hard to ensure that the transition was smooth. The biggest change was accepting the role of Senior Mission commander for Fort Drum and ensuring that we are working with and integrating the civilian population of the North country into Fort Drum. We have a unique relationship here with the neighboring communities and ensuring that they were kept up to date and informed is one of the important
tasks that we have to keep focused on every day.

Jon: In regards to operational deployments, where do you see the division, 1 year from now?

MG Terry: You know about operational security and the fact that we don't have the ability to announce everything that you may want to hear.

Jon: With the future always changing and people having a "need to know", I understand that you are limited in what you can say.

MG Terry: Well, without going into specifics, I know that the Division headquarters element and 2 brigades are going to be training up for another rotation through Afghanistan. Other than that, there is always the possibility for some things to change.

Jon: The 4th BCT, currently at Ft Polk, is supposed to be transferred to Ft Drum in the upcoming future. How is the preparation of the post for their transfer going?

MG Terry: Jon, looking forward, I do not foresee the 4th Bde leaving Fort Polk and joining us here at Fort Drum. To the best of my knowledge, there are no plans to move them up here.

Jon: The post used to have an active "club scene" with the Pennants and Spinners clubs for soldiers to go to at night for entertainment and to get away from the barracks. With the closing of the post to non military personnel in 2001, the clubs were closed. Now that there has been an easing of the restrictions on non military personnel coming onto post, are there any plans to reopen the clubs, possibly at another location(s)on post? Or possibly expanding the Winner's Circle?

MG Terry: I remember the clubs well, and right now the post museum and USO clubs are in the old Spinners building...

Jon: I have to admit, I'm not sure what is even in the old Pennants Club anymore.

MG Terry: I still get my haircuts at the barber shop there, and I am pretty sure that there is a Subway and an Anthonys Pizza located there now. But right now we don't have any plans to open any new clubs on post.

Jon: I remember many times being in at the club for closing and having the Bn and Division staff duties there to give drunk soldiers a ride back to their barracks as so that the commanders wouldn't have to come down to the MP station to pick up their troops. It did have a large effect in reducing the number of soldiers who had their pictures in the Blizzard (now Mountaineer). Your predecessor MG Oates had the pictures, name and circumstances of anyone who was arrested for DWI printed in the paper.

MG Terry: We are always concerned about the number of DWI incidents and we do have programs in place to help combat that. Right now if someone who has been out and having a good time feels that they have had too much to drink, we have a Soldier Ride program that has staff duties at the various units going out and getting the soldiers who feel that it wouldn't be safe to drive home.

Jon:Switching gears a little, Gen. Stanley McChrystal's report on Afghanistan states that without an Iraq type surge, the war is unwinnable. I have a couple of questions about that report and the strategies being used in that country. The
first is, when talking to the deployed soldiers and commanders of 10th Mountain Division units, do they agree with Gen. McChrystal's opinion?

MG Terry: (laugh) There are a lot of considerations that go into an answer on this question...

Jon: (Interrupting) I understand, and I do apologize for putting you on the spot here. We just went from a friendly game of catch to my throwing a fastball high and inside.

MG Terry: That is honestly a question that will need to be answered by the President and his advisers. I wouldn't want someone to take anything I say to have the appearance of presuming to set policy. When I was over in Afghanistan in Oct, I did talk to some of the commanders and the troops about their mission and they are confident that we will complete the mission and be successful. When I was over there, I was briefed about the recent moves into Logar and Wardak provinces and what the troops are doing to take areas that were formerly in the hands of Taliban and Anti government forces and bring security and a sense of stability to areas that have not had any for a long time.

Jon: There was a story in Mid October that some soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan are starting to question their mission in that country due to repeated deployments to that country. Other than the letter to the troops from Col Haight, how would you respond to those reports and what can we do to stem any increase in that attitude?

MG Terry: General Casey has stated he has set a goal of 1 year in country and then 2 years at home for soldiers and we are working hard to ensure that we are able to meet that goal. We realize the hardships and we each and every day we do thank the soldiers and their families for their sacrifices.

Jon: When you visited the troops recently, what was the feeling that you got from them about their morale and their support of the mission?

MG Terry: We understand that the multiple deployments have taken a toll on the troops and their families. Some soldiers are on their second, third, and fourth tours but the troops were telling me about the changes that they have seen from one tour to the next. Afghanistan is nowhere near what it used to be and the soldiers that are over there can tell you that the conditions have improved.

Jon: While you were in country, what did you hear from the troops and the commanders concerning the training and conduct of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) forces that were working with the soldiers on the ground?

MG Terry: From the commanders that I spoke to over there, the ANA troops are motivated, well trained and equipped, while there is potential for some improvement in the ANP troops. While I was over there, I spoke with 2 ANA and 1 ANP commanders and had a good discussion with them about several topics.

Jon: MG Oates had a semi regular blog that he used to communicate with the soldiers and families of the North Country and Ft Drum. With the rise in the use of blogs to communicate with people back home, and social networks like Myspace, Twitter and Facebook, do you have plans to expand the 10th Mountain and Fort Drum's presence on the internet?

MG Terry: I have to admit, my wife and kids are a lot more internet savvy than I am, they are the ones who are always online. Certainly the Internet is an important part of people's lives these days. We are planning several things, in fact, we have a Twitter Page now (located at http://twitter.com/10thMountainDiv). I think we are one of, if not the first Army command to be on Twitter.
I have some pressing appointments, and am going to have to wrap this up soon.

Jon: I understand completely, I only have a couple more questions for you Sir.

When not "on the clock", what hobbies or activities do you do to relax and take your mind off of the pressures of command?

MG Terry: As I told you before, I have your old first sgt as my fishing guide and I am enjoying the trout fishing. I also have a Brittney Spaniel, but the Grouse and Pheasant are not cooperating this year. I also do a lot of reading, mostly on planes, and I do a lot of PT.

Jon: Nobody told you that they deploy to warmer climates every fall because they refuse to go through cold weather training up here?

MG Terry: (Laugh) Nobody told me that. I'll have to see what we can do to get them into a school.

Jon: Do you have any messages for the soldiers and families of the 10th Mountain Division that you would like to release at this time?

MG Terry: I have been in the military for 31 years and one of the major reasons I stay is because of the soldiers. I have always said that to be a good leader, you have to be subservient and follow before you can lead. We have some of the best soldiers anywhere and I will be going to the dedication of the headstone for SFC Monti soon in his hometown.

Jon: Sir, it has been a pleasure speaking to you and doing this Interview.

MG Terry: It was enjoyable for me as well.

Jon: Lead with Courage Sir.

MG Terry: To the Top

Editor's note. This interview was done on 3 Nov 2009 over the phone and
it took appx 40 minutes.

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