In our first interview with CSM Mike Hall, one of the main takeaways I hope everyone realized is that no matter where you start or come from in life, as long as you work hard, give 100 percent effort, and make your focus improving those around you, your potential for success is limitless. Mentorship is important, but leading by example is really one of the stalwarts of getting those entrusted to your leadership to accomplish the mission, regardless of difficulty. Here we pick up our second interview with CSM Mike Hall, discussing his first assignment outside of the Ranger Battalion after over seven years in the Rangers.

How was your experience serving as a NCO TAC at the Citadel?

You know, I was really enjoying my time in 1st Battalion, had made SSG, had a really good lieutenant, good young NCOs, good young Rangers, and Stan Fox was the 1SG mentoring me. 1SG Fox had a great way of teaching you; if you had a question he would not just give you the answer, he would tell you how to get the answer and then you would come back and tell him what the answer was. So it was really a great learning experience and not just about being a NCO, but about life.

Then I was called up to BN HQ and was told they wanted me to go up to the Citadel and teach ROTC. Not so much anymore, but back then, ROTC slots were SF or Ranger slots and they were tied to units, but the good thing was when your rotation or tour was up, you went back to either your SF group or your Ranger battalion, so that was a nice benefit. It was not bad. It was in Charleston with just my wife and I; she was pregnant at the time, so I was getting a little break. Not having to be a part of the rigorous training schedule and the overall work load of a NCO in the Ranger BN while you are expecting your first child is probably a benefit you don’t realize until after the fact.

Were there any special influences or mentors while you were at the Citadel?

There was a guy named COL Bradin who was an 11th ACR guy, Vietnam veteran. He was very laid back, and I had never worked with or had regular interaction with senior officers before. He was really helpful with lots of things; I don’t recall one specific thing, but his advice and experience really helped shape me as I became a senior NCO. I don’t know if it was a requirement for the officers to complete a ROTC tour; many of them used it to get their next higher degree or take a little break. Doug Johnson, who I still stay in touch with, was a transportation officer and was Ranger qualified, and he did a really good job with the cadets. He had actually done a tour with combat arms, because back then many of the support officers did a stint in combat arms before they went off to focus on their specific career fields.

How were the cadets? I would imagine that because the Citadel is a military school, many of the students/cadets had a high motivation level and really wanted to learn.

Back then the Citadel was not a commission-producing school, and the percentage of guys that actually took a commission was around maybe 30 percent, I think. So a lot of the guys that went there were there just for a good education. I think that a very high percentage of the guys were motivated and the Citadel has a strong alumni base, which is always helpful when you move past college and start looking for a job. The Citadel also produced a number of great officers.