Looking back on a military career spanning 29 and a half years, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Georgett Hall said her career highlights all center on the success of the Soldiers she worked with along the way.
“I have loved watching Soldiers learn who they are and grow into leaders themselves,” Hall said. “The phone calls to celebrate a success, personal or professional, let me know that I did the right things in their eyes.”
When she enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserves in 1993, Hall did not envision advancing beyond the ranks of specialist or sergeant. She joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 2001 after time in the active-duty Army as well as the New York Army National Guard. Once she was employed full-time in the Active Guard Reserve program here, she said she began to consider the possibility of serving as a command sergeant major.
“As the years passed and I started to gain knowledge and experience, it became apparent that I love what I do, and I could really be successful,” Hall said.
Hall served in various roles of responsibility during her career, including intelligence analyst, unit readiness, operations and training. She deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2005, and to Camp Basrah, Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division in 2009. In 2018 she became the first female command sergeant major for the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 426th Regional Training Institute (RTI) at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
In January of 2021, Hall was selected to be the first senior enlisted leader to the Wisconsin Army National Guard chief of staff. The following month she was named the first senior enlisted advisor for Wisconsin’s adjutant general.
“When I started my career, I would have never imagined this is where I would be,” Hall said at the time.
Both advisory roles had to be built from the ground up.
“Standing up a new position is really a great experience,” Hall said. “It’s a little intimidating because you know you are laying the groundwork potentially for years to come. That said, you also know change is inevitable and nothing was permanent as we established the expectations for both positions.”
Knowing her new roles would focus on supporting strategic initiatives for the adjutant general, deputy adjutant general for Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard chief of staff, Hall met frequently with the chief of staff and the Wisconsin Army National Guard state command sergeant major.
“To say I learned a lot is an understatement,” Hall remarked. “These positions gave me the opportunity to learn about the other parts of the Department of Military Affairs that I would not have normally interacted with. We have so many interesting facets to our workforce on the state side. I don’t think many of our military members realize those partnerships already exist. I think that was my biggest eye-opener.”
At the time she was appointed to those advisory roles, Hall said she was also laying the groundwork for the next person.
“For me, it’s always about leaders — and everybody — training their replacements,” Hall explained. “Because we can all be replaced, I’ve focused on making small improvements that build on each other, setting the next person up for success and ensuring the team around me can continue any mission in my absence.”
The Wisconsin National Guard did not appoint a new senior enlisted advisor to the adjutant general when Hall retired. But Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Johnson follows her as senior enlisted leader for the chief of staff. Hall said she did not give Johnson any advice on his new assignment.
“He didn’t really need any,” Hall explained. “He has worked at Joint Force Headquarters for quite a while, so he knew all the key players. He was on most of the working groups I was on, and he had previously worked with the current chief of staff [Col. Brion Aderman]. I’ve heard he’s doing a great job and I am not surprised.”
Johnson said following a mentor is always difficult.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Hall was incredibly gracious with her time prior to retirement,” Johnson said, “but the piece of advice she gave that has had the most impact was to just be myself — do the things that got me here and have made me successful to this point.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Hall has been a mentor and a friend for many years to many Soldiers,” Johnson continued. “She will be missed.”
Hall may have retired from the military, but not from the workforce. At present she is a training coordinator for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
“I’m using my experience to expand an existing program and work on some strategic initiatives,” she said. “It’s been a great transition so far.”
But she had one final retrospective on ending a three-decade career in uniform. “I think every retiree says the same thing,” Hall observed. “I will miss the people.”