FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — For the second Advocate Fort Drum Interviews and Insights, the senior enlisted advisor at the Fort Drum installation shared his experience.
Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division Command Sergeant Major Mario Terenas was brought to New York back in March of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting.
CSM Terenas shared his experience as a non- commissioned officer for the U.S. Army.
“I always like to say that my biggest job, and this is my third, what we call nominative positions, is to help them see the blind spots,” shared Teranas. “I maneuver in this space where it allows me to speak to the lowest, the soldiers of where I grew up to the most of senior folks inside the military and I get a complete different perspective.
Adding, “we also joke that I’m probably the only person that doesn’t lie to the general.”
Prior to CSM Terenas’ arrival on the Fort Drum installment, he held the title of the senior enlisted leader at the United States Cadet Command at Fort Knox. He also had two previous assignments at Fort Drum; the Brigade Operations with the First Brigade and the Battalion Command Sergeant Major of the Third Battalion.
As he has risen through the rankings of the U.S. Military Terenas also shared the experience of arriving to the first duty station at Fort Drum after completing programs such as ROTC. As the CSM of Cadet Command CSM Terenas would have overseen all ROTC programs in the country, though not completing one himself.
“It’s scary to tell you the truth,” expressed CSM Terenas. “For a young lieutenant arriving in a new duty station and being in front of 30, 40, 50 folks, he or she, a few days ago was a college student and now you’re responsible for the lives of 50 odd people.”
Terenas went on to explain how this impacts his role in a leadership position.
“Especially if you come to Fort Drum, probably a little cold, depending on the time of the year that you come here. So, you know, we need to wrap our arms around them and make them feel at home a little bit,” stated Terenas.
Additional roles CSM Terenas takes on include addressing headlines that affect Fort Drum and how this impacts soldiers.
He stated that when he does have to address any issues surfaced and how responsibility is taken.
“You must be able to have a look at it and say ‘what are we not doing?’ ‘Are we taking a look at ourselves internally?’ And I think it’s probably been one of the best things for us,” shared Terena. “Because, you know, we get caught up in the bureaucracy of things and systems and we’re thinking, no one’s acting in an, a various way.”
Adding, “and sometimes. We don’t see things that are happening within our organization that we need to fix.”
To address any changes to the U.S. armed forces following change in leadership and current domestic and international conflicts, including disputes at the Southern Border, CSM Terenas expressed his pride in the country he serves.
“One of the greatest things about our country is that we’re a beacon of freedom. We will take care of all sorts of folks,” stated Teranas. “I can tell you this: the military will be prepared to follow the orders of our commander in chief no matter what it is. Whatever our government decides to do, that’s exactly what we’ll do.”
Concluding with, “and we’ll do a fantastic job at it.”
10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Command Sergeant Major Mario Terenas spoke more to this topic and the basic day-to-day operations on the Fort Drum installment with ABC50’s Alex Hazard. Watch the Full interview in the player above.
Opening remarks for the interview were given by Advocate Drum Chair and Samaritan Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer Thomas Carman.