JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST,N.J. —
The history of Fort Dix is etched into the very foundation of Wurman Hall. Portraits of previous installation commanders and command sergeants major neatly line the walls. Generations of Soldiers and leaders have left their mark with black and white photos ascending from the past into color. At the end of the hallway sits the newest incumbent of that highest enlisted rank at Army Support Activity Dix, Command Sgt. Maj. Randy Gillespie.
Having acknowledged the work of his predecessor, Gillespie is faced with a blank canvas and is anticipating the mark he will leave during his service here - earning his spot on the wall in Wurman Hall.
For 100 years Fort Dix has been a center of mobilization and training. With the possibility of a large mobilization mission returning, Gillespie is excited to continue that legacy.
“Readiness is a part of my personal mantra and I want to bring that to this installation,” said Gillespie. “Absolutely one of my biggest priorities is ensuring [service members are prepared to deploy].”
In the past, many of the services designed to improve quality of life for service members currently did not exist. Today, many of these resources and amenities are facing budget cuts; this is a major concern for Gillespie.
“One of the biggest things that I want to ensure during my time here is that proper services are available to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen here,” said Gillespie. “We need to make sure programs are in place for them to get any personal help they may need without having to worry about their chain of command or anyone getting involved.”
These services not only allow service members to be taken care of, it increases their ability to deploy and may remove some stress from the sometimes stressful lives of those in the military, said Gillespie.
In his spare time, Gillespie is a sponsored professional bass fisher, husband, and father of five children.
“Patience and organizational skills translate well from professional bass fishing into the Army,” said Gillespie. “People don’t realize bass fishing is a process. When we do a certain job in the Army we do it a specific way. I organize my tackle a specific way and label things a specific way. My wife says I’m crazy, but it’s a process. It helps me both catch fish and do well in my work.”
A South Carolina native, Gillespie entered the armed forces in 1989 as a 31M, Multichannel Telecommunications Operator. Throughout his service he has served in numerous deployments and combat tours including Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope, Uphold Democracy, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Now in the seat of Command Sergeant Major at ASA-Dix, Gillespie takes a century of history into the future.
“I will do what I need to do to help increase readiness for the service members here,” said Gillespie. “ASA-Dix is here to provide services to the tenant units all around the installation. Whether it’s the ranges or facilities - anything we can do to help. That’s what we’re here for.”