Meet Your Army: CSM Davenport shaping NCO development

Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. has been in the Army for a while -- over 33 years. He has served in every leadership position from cavalry scout and tank commander to his current position as the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

Davenport thoroughly believes in the "NCO 2020 Strategy" which advocates that as members of the Army Profession, non-commissioned officers have an inherent responsibility to continually self-improve. Whether through pursuing civilian education, obtaining technical credentials, participating in competitive boards, reading professional journals, or volunteering in local communities, NCOs contribute immensely to their own individual leader development.

The command sergeant major provided answers to the following questions in his own words:

Q: Where are you from? Why did you join the Army? 

A: I proudly claim that I was born and raised in East Nashville, Tennessee. It was great that the recruiter's office was right across the street from my high school. My mom signed my contract and I joined the Army at 17 years old. But I had a great high school English teacher who not only encouraged me to stay in school, but also brought me my class work. She told me that one day education would matter to me. She was right. Here I am now helping to reshape all of the NCO Professional Military Education for the Army, improving distance learning and encouraging Soldiers to attend college. 

Q: What are you working to do now as the TRADOC CSM? What are your priorities? Why is that important? 

A: NCO 2020 is my top priority. It will develop the NCO Corps of the future. We have to move beyond a bunch of good ideas and work toward achieving certain goals; goals that are obtainable and sustainable and add value to our NCO Corps. Along the way, we have to make sure we are not working in a vacuum, that we are soliciting ideas from other leaders and Soldiers and communicating those ideas to the force for feedback and awareness. 

Q: What's do you enjoy most about your hometown?

A: My great friends and family that still live in the area; it's always good to go home to see them. But I love all the different types of music t played around "Music City." Of course you can find Country music, along with all other forms of music, every night around the city of Nashville.

Q: What's has changed most since you left your hometown to serve in the Army?

Nashville has grown so much since I was a teenager. Now it can get a little crowded when there are professional sporting events (Titians or the Predators), concerts, and during major tourist events like country music festivals. 

Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I didn't have any idea. I was never focused as a young person and took it day-by-day. 

Q: What did you like to do as a child? What turned you toward the Army? Why do you serve?

A: Probably hanging out with my friends and playing sports. We had a great neighborhood and we did everything together.

The first time I spoke to an Army recruiter, he really showed a genuine concern for me. I knew this was an organization I wanted to be part of.

I continue to serve for one reason and one reason only - our Soldiers and their families. It has been such an honor to lead Soldiers for over 30 years. I enjoy hearing from Soldiers or seeing their accomplishments as I travel around our Army. 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: Playing my guitar and reading. Reading presents me with new ideas and insights that help me in my current role. I read everything from best business practices to non-fiction. It's sort of like mental physical fitness training for me. 

I picked up the guitar a few years ago with a German friend of mine and became obsessed with it. I have guitars everywhere; my office, throughout my home, even one that folds up so I can travel with it. In places that I have served, the Soldiers know I am quick to jump in and play a set with them.

Q: Favorite line from a movie?

A: "If you build it, they will come" from "Field of Dreams." It makes me think of STEP! (Select-Train-Educate-Promote, a policy that represents the Army's investment in Soldiers' professional military education through a deliberate, continuous and progressive process.)

Q; If you were caught singing in the car, what would you be singing?

A: It's hard to say since I enjoy many types of music. Just this morning, I was listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away" as I pulled into the parking lot at work. Of course I got some strange looks!

Q: Personal strength?

A: I would say my work ethic, a trait I got from my mom. I watched her work two jobs, one in a furniture factory and another in a frozen food factory, to provide for us. So I work just as hard to take care of responsibilities that I have been given. I am sure there are other leaders smarter and stronger than me, but none will out work me.

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