Candid column from Ft. Bliss' Maj. Gen Pittard encourages soldiers to 'find their voice'

FORT BLISS, Texas - Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard is packing his bags. The El Paso native is leaving Fort Bliss at the end of the month after almost three years as commander.

Gen. Pittard writes a periodic column for the post's newspaper, the Fort Bliss Monitor. This one, published the week of May 12, encourages soldiers to just be themselves and find their voice. Here is an excerpt:

Find Your Voice

Well, I only have one more of these columns left to write.  While I have been trying to leave quietly, that goal seems to be getting away from me.

Usually, I end this column with an update on fitness.  

I'd like to end my next-to-last column with a reflection. This column was always meant as an outlet for me to communicate with the people we consider our constituents; the folks that CSM Kelley and I serve: the Soldiers of Fort Bliss, their families, the El Paso community, our retirees, and our DA and DoD employees.

I did not set out to write a weekly journal of events and policies.  I wanted to capture, in a very real, emotional way, the times that we live in, the times that I have commanded in-the times I was blessed to share with you.  

The last three years were a moment in time and in many ways this column documents the things that I saw. It's always surprised me how people react to the things I write in here, whether it's about a family heirloom mistakenly sold or emotional comments written after a Soldier's memorial.  

Certainly I understand and appreciate all of the response I've received from this outlet.  I've certainly learned from all of it.

One thing I've learned is that there is room for all types of personalities in our military.  That sounds counter-intuitive. After all, the military is, by nature, a conformist, hierarchical organization.  

But that doesn't mean that there isn't room for the individual within that structure.  

If most folks just presented themselves in their authentic voice without acting the way they believe others want them to act, they would do just fine.

I've spent more than half my life in the Army and we really have evolved.  We now have room for all races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations.  

Be yourself, find your authentic voice, look after your battle buddy, and take care of yourself.  We might as well be comfortable within our own skin.  

After all, we're only here on this Earth for a little while.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve with all of you.

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