The office of Col. Fern O. Sumpter, the new commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH), includes her Wall of Fame and on that wall, she has positioned a large, framed poster entitled “So You Want a Command?” The poster lists 21 questions pertinent to anyone interested in doing a job similar to hers.

Sumpter has used the answers to those questions to help define who she is as a commander. The questions were first posed by General Bruce C. Clark, the veteran Army commander whose career spanned World War II to the Berlin crisis of the 1960s, and define her style of leadership.

In an interview, Sumpter was enthusiastic about commanding JBM—HH and excited about the diversity of the military installation.

“JBM-HH is clearly the best joint base worldwide, the rest of the world just doesn’t see it yet!” Sumpter said, demonstrating the can-do attitude that defines her command philosophy.

In a recent workforce town hall meeting, Sumpter emphasized her expectations for the command, according to an article written by Courtney Dock in the Pentagram newspaper. She stated as goals “making force protection a priority, establishing mentorships, solving problems as a team and staying trained and ready for any mission.”

Sumpter said another priority is “strengthening community ties and partnerships.”
One of the commander’s main areas of focus is serving as a mentor and role model for the younger soldiers who are in her command. She feels these two elements are essential to fostering a positive, glass half-full attitude among those on the JBM-HH team. Teamwork is a key, she said.

An important aspect of JBM-HH is the combination of Army and Marine Corps in one place. “There is a certain sensitivity and appreciation of each service’s military culture that is on the plate at all times down to and including the budget breakout,” she said.

Sumpter said she also believes in balancing home and work. “The home team has to be equally engaged in the decision making process” she said.

Edgar Brookins

Special to the AFRO