Command Sergeant Major Joseph Harbour is preparing to assume responsibility as U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Campbell senior enlisted adviser from Command Sgt. Maj. Jason W. Osborne, May 28, during a ceremony at Wilson Theater.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” Harbour said. “Serving in such a historic division and outstanding community, it’s just an honor and I’ve always said if I have to close out my career this is where I want to do it. I want to always remember the 101st as my final duty station.”
Harbour joined the Army in 1994 out of his hometown Camdenton, Missouri.
“I had given college a try but did not find it successful for me, and I decided I wanted to join the Army,” he said. “I came into the Army as an infantryman, and my first duty station was in Hawaii where I deployed to Haiti.”
During his Army career, Harbour has served at various posts and on deployments in many different roles including drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Yet, it is his time at Fort Campbell, that has made the biggest impression on him.
Harbour’s first assignment to Fort Campbell was in 1996, when as a young Soldier he served in 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). In 2007, he returned to Fort Campbell where he has served in 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and as a first sergeant at Fort Campbell’s Warrior Transition Battalion.
“In my military experience, I think the units on Fort Campbell are superior to any other installation I’ve been at,” Harbour said. “Part of it is the prestige of serving in such a historic unit like the 101st Airborne Division. When you ask most people what they know about the Army, most of them know of the 101st. Great leaders always end up here, I’m privileged to serve with great leaders. The community cares about the Soldiers and bends over backwards to make sure they are taken care of.”
Harbour’s wife, Lori, is from the Dickson County, Tennessee, area, and his daughters – Chloe and Shelby – grew up here and consider it home.
“There was a turning point in my career where I had to make the decision if I was staying in the Army or not,” Harbour said. “I was selected for the Sergeants Major Academy, so my Family and I made the decision to continue on with my career. I went down to Fort Bliss, [Texas,] for the academy for about a year and was then given my orders for Hawaii. They did not understand why I did not want to go to Hawaii.”
Because his daughters were in high school, Harbour chose to remain at Fort Campbell. Today, both daughters attend the University of Kentucky.
After the USASMA, Harbour became the operations sergeant major of 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, and was later selected to serve as battalion command sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, where he remained until he was selected to become the garrison senior enlisted adviser.
Over the past two weeks, Harbour has been visiting garrison agencies and directorates to become familiar with post operations.
“The biggest eye-opener was the amount of highly-qualified, very professional civilians who are responsible for keeping Fort Campbell the installation of choice,” Harbour said. “I have a new perspective being here than when I was down on the line. You don’t see all of the behind the scenes work that goes into making Fort Campbell run, and I’ve gotten to sit down and get some great briefings from some of the directorates.”
As he prepares to fully transition into his new role, Harbour has started to think about the kind of command sergeant major he wants to be.
“If I focused inside on Fort Campbell, I feel like I need to be a conduit between the civilian workforce, the directorates, all the way to my [enlisted] peers on the line,” he said. “It’s a two-way street, they should be able to bring concerns or questions to me and I should be able to provide them the education they may not have or go straight to the directorate to get them a solution. All of that builds into Soldier readiness. If the chief of staff’s top priority is people first that’s what I want to focus on.”
Harbour also wants to continue to advance strong relationships with the outside communities.
“At any given time, someone from Fort Campbell is always gone and doing something for the country,” he said. “I want to build a partnership with the community but also help share the story of what our Soldiers are doing here on Fort Campbell and when they are deployed.”