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CSM educating deployed troops
2nd HBCT soldier is instructor in Iraq
CSM Jimmy Pegues, 26th Brigade Support Battalion, is providing the Army with better educated, more competent leaders while serving as an adjutant instructor for a college supervision course. - photo by U.S. Army photo
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq — The U.S. Army’s best assets are skilled, educated soldiers. Knowledgeable warriors make for a flexible, adaptive and competent future force.
Soldiers of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, have the opportunity to further their education while deployed to Mosul, Iraq. In addition to being responsible for more than 1,200 troops within his battalion, Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Pegues, 46, the 26th Brigade Support Battalion command sergeant major, is providing the Army with better educated and more competent leaders.
The North Carolinian recently taught a principles of supervision class and is scheduled to instruct a managerial communication skills course for the University of Maryland University College–Europe in August.
“I tailored the class to the times I had available. I teach the class from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and then I work late into the night,” the Thomasville, N.C. native said.
 “I brought my initial plan to my commander and he said he didn’t see any problems, as long as it didn’t interfere with my mission. I still go out on convoys, do briefs and attend meetings.”
With the recommendation of Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Brown, the brigade educational NCO, Pegues submitted a teaching application to the University of Maryland. He was accepted and began his first class, personnel counseling, in April with 13 students.
“They liked the class and the soldiers wanted the opportunity to better themselves,” he said. “For them to see a command sergeant major teaching, it’s like ‘wow.’ I have a relaxed mode of teaching, so I quickly put them at ease.
“Teaching is simply a matter of sharing experiences,” Pegues said. “I cannot only relate to the stuff in the book, but I’m also able to share my experiences, both from my life and from the Army.
“I have to be careful, though. Even though I teach in the military, I need to think of them as students, rather than as military students. In a civilian environment, you can’t keep referring back to your military experience. I may have civilians in my class, so I have to tailor myself to the group. I don’t want to bore them with all that military stuff.”
After Pegues was accepted to teach as an adjutant instructor, he began to build his first class. He created a syllabus, lesson plan, tests and a grading system. Once the classes were loaded into the GoArmyEd system, the soldiers were able to enroll, which gave the command sergeant major an idea of how many students to expect.
Classes are scheduled for eight weeks, or 48 contact hours.
 “However, I condensed it, cut an hour and added a day. We have 16 class meetings and meet for three hours. They also get time for their term papers and projects,” Pegues said.
Spc. Shantell Agnew, 22, of HHC, 26th BSB, said the college course offered a chance to “help develop me more personally and professionally. Professionally, it gives me more promotion points and personally, I gain a better understanding of how to be a leader.”
The class allowed Spc. Rebecca Wilson, 38, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 26th BSB, and a Chattanooga, Tenn., native, a chance to resume her education.
“This course helped me get a jump-start on getting back into school,” she said. “I haven’t been to any classes since 1992, so I wanted to get back into the swing of things with a few courses.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Pegues is a pretty good teacher. He’s very informative and intelligent and provides a lot of good examples.”
It’s all about improving our soldiers, Pegues said.  “Education has achieved a much higher foothold within the military system, and it’s not just within the battalion — promotion boards Army-wide are looking at soldiers’ levels of education and self-improvement. Unfortunately, while many soldiers want to attend school, there are those who don’t have the opportunity due to mission requirements and scheduling.”
Pegues joined the military in June 1981 via the delayed entry program, after graduating from Thomasville High School in North Carolina. He earned his associate’s of arts degree in political science from Austin Peay State University in 1989, his bachelor’s of arts degree in general studies from Columbia College of Missouri  in 2004 and his master’s of business administration degree in military operations from Touro University International in Cyprus, Calif.,  in 2008.
“When I came into the Army in 1981, I had no college back then, although I always wanted to go,” he said. “The Army allowed me the opportunity to educate myself. It made me more knowledgeable and a better leader. Education is the future.”
He served as the Fort Lee, Va., NCO Academy commandant before coming to the 26th BSB. A 29-year military veteran, Pegues has served as the battalion’s senior enlisted soldier since October 2009.
While he hopes to get in 35 years of service, “If it comes down to it, I’ll retire at Fort Stewart. That’s been my home for the last 15 years,” he said.
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