‘Guardian’ CSM embraces equality, educates Soldiers on diversity
The U.S. military is unique from many other armed forces in the world in that it is made up of people from many different backgrounds and cultures. In the U.S. Army, Soldiers celebrate that diversity as a key aspect of what makes them strong.
For one senior enlisted leader from the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, overcoming discrimination has served as motivation to help his Soldiers be more aware of diversity and aims to eliminate discrimination in the Army.
Command Sgt. Maj. David Williams, the senior enlisted leader of the 1st ABCT’s 101st Brigade Support Battalion, comes from a long line of African American service members. Several of his uncles have served in the United States military where they fought in the Korean War. Also, both of Williams’ grandparents served in World War II.
“That history is in my family, to serve in the military,” Williams said. “My grandfather fought for a better life for his family.”
During his 23-year career, Williams has faced racism, but he has faced that discrimination head on.
Williams explained that instead of being defeated by discrimination, he took the opportunity to grow, to embrace his faith and continue to believe that it is important to treat people the way you want to be treated.
He believes that education is key in giving Soldiers the tools to deal with discrimination and to embrace the many cultures that make up the Army.
“The military has changed a great bit over the years,” he said. “The military is a melting pot. We have to deal with discrimination by embracing these Soldiers and educating them.”
Williams is currently deployed with his unit to the Republic of Korea, where the U.S. Army has the unique advantage of working closely with their Korean partners. These Korean Army soldiers, Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army, or KATUSAs, both live and work with their fellow U.S. Army Soldiers.
“I think it’s awesome that the KATUSAs are integrated into our formations,” Williams said. “This integration has a tremendous impact on our success as an Army and as a nation.”
Williams believes that it’s important to embrace the diversity that makes up the Army and to celebrate that history.
“How can you fight beside a guy if we don’t embrace their culture by educating ourselves,” he said.
As a command sergeant major, Williams has the responsibility for the welfare of hundreds of Soldiers. He uses that influence to set a positive example for his Soldiers to follow.
“(He) really set the tone early as the senior noncommissioned officer,” said Lt. Col. Michael Post, the commander of the 101st BSB. “He expressed that every Soldier matters. (He) often takes the time to thank Soldiers and has created a disciplined unit. He is a positive individual to be around.”