2017-12-15 / Front Page

Fort Gordon makes TRADOC history

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

The hard work and dedication of staff from one Fort Gordon office has been recognized as the best in its category.

The Fort Gordon International Military Student Office competed for and won the 2017 IMSO of the Year.

The announcement was made during the biennial Army IMSO Workshop held Nov. 16 at Fort Eustis, Virginia. This was the first year the Security Assistance Training Field Activities, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, held the competition.

The Fort Gordon IMSO consists of Nate Brown, IMSO director; Thomas Wilson, training coordinator; Greg Washington, Field Studies program manager; Yolanda Ballard, administrative manager; Sgt. Devin McCollum, training NCO. They are assigned to 15th Regimental Signal Brigade under the command of Col. Daniel Ruder.

The award criteria included student administration, financial management, the Field Studies Program, and a commander’s nomination letter.

There were 37 qualified IMSOs grouped into three categories based on international military student attendance. Fort Gordon trained 126 students from 49 countries over the course of Fiscal Year 2017, putting it in the medium-sized category. The office was up against eight other installations including Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Lee, Virginia.

Ruder, who wrote the nomination letter, said he was not surprised to learn Fort Gordon received top honor.

“They are all professionals who take what they do seriously,” Ruder said. “The reason they were selected as No. 1 is because of the success they bestow on the mission.”

That mission is to “manage Fort Gordon’s Security Assistance Training Program to broker relationships, corporations, and shared security efforts through training initiatives with international partners,” Brown said, adding that the IMSO is essentially the “ training bridge” between SATFA and the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence.

It is a mission that is not taken lightly. Underscoring the importance of having a successful IMSO, Ruder said the team is an essential element to what national security calls for.

“The magnitude of what they do is much greater than just the IMSO here or operating in support of the Cyber Center of Excellence,” Ruder said. “What they’re really doing within TRADOC is directly connected to the international partnerships and security assistance that our own Department of State counts on us to do well because it’s part of our national security strategy and how we engage with other countries and build partnerships.”

When partnerships are built, positive relationships happen.

As the IMSO’s Field Study program manager, one of Washington’s missions is to help international students acclimate to American culture. He does this through a variety of ways to include organizing tours of different cities (including Washington D.C.), and being available when they have questions or specific needs. It is a role that has led to some friendships.

“They have told me many times, ‘Mr. Washington, all you have to do is make it to my country, and I’m going to take care of you,’” Washington said. “And I really believe that in my heart.”

Brown said that all of his staff are passionate about what they do and place exceptional effort into their work. Being recognized as the 2017 IMSO of the Year is an honor that he said serves as motivation to continue striving to be the best.

“It gives us some bragging rights, and it gives us an understanding that what we are doing, we can do it better,” Brown said.

Return to top