[Civil Affairs] The Distinguishing Marks of a Leader: CW3 Hill

The Distinguishing Marks of a Leader: CW3 Hill

“Ultimately, Leadership is not about heroic crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” – Chris Hadfield

What do Chief Hill and the man who spoke these words have in common? They are both Canadian, of course! In all seriousness, this Canadian Astronaut's words describe Chief Warrant Officer Three Jason J. Hill. Chief has relentlessly motivated Charlie Company to be the best, be disciplined, and win at everything we do. The second part of the quote stands out to me. Chief Hill is always laying down the groundwork for the members of Charlie Company to succeed, and he doesn’t take credit. Most of the behind the scenes work that Chief Hill does is not mandatory for a commanding officer, but he does so because he enjoys making us, Charlie Company, happy.

Chief Hill joined the 29th like all of us members do, passing basic combat training, and training with our rifle AITs. Seven years ago, as a member of the 292nd training platoon, Chief Hill joined because he admired the 29th's professionalism and our adherence to the principles of realism. Throughout his career thus far, he has held many positions in the 29th and currently finds himself as Charlie company's commanding officer.

Even though Chief Hill may not agree with this term, he “sacrifices” a lot of his time always adding and developing events, ArmA 3 content, all while maintaining his position as commanding officer of Charlie Company. As a father, and a commanding officer, Chief Hill is often always busy with both 29th and non-29th related work, working on new content for Charlie users in ArmA 3, while taking care of his family, and yet seems always to make himself available when needed. He has personally created and implemented the 29th training missions, which are the template all of Charlie Company uses to run drills on all the maps we currently support.

As a hobby, Chief Hill is always in the editor set coming up with new content, ideas and is always willing to share his knowledge of Arma 3 scripting and its implementation. Chief Hill has always remained active in the ArmA 3 community, reaching out and planning operations for Charlie Company to take part in with other realism units, never leaving Charlie Company without monthly and weekly events to participate in, and forging lasting friendships with other groups in the community.

When updates occur with the mods we use or updates to the game engine itself, often mods and codes currently used become outdated and break, therefore needing to be fixed, to which Chief is always restoring and updating. He is constantly policing and updating content on the forums, adding changelogs and tutorials to help those like myself that can be too dimwitted to understand better what’s going on. Chief Hill has done and continues to do an excellent job updating the 29th wiki for Charlie Company so that recruits and members have a lot of handy information at their disposal.

Strict as a commander must be, and austere when it comes to making sure Charlie Company exhibits the highest standard of 29th realism, Chief Hill also proves himself to be helpful and very approachable. Members like myself, who had not had the opportunity to grow alongside Chief Hill, may not know a lot about him. But Chief Hill was more than willing to answer some questions I had about his career thus far in the 29th Infantry Division so that members like myself could understand more about him and all the sometimes-underappreciated work he does for the 29th.

PFC Donofrio: I’d like to start by thanking you, Sir, for deciding to answer some questions about your career in the 29th.

CW3 Hill: Sure, I am happy to participate.

PFC Donofrio: If you can remember, how did you come by the 29th? What was your motivation for joining the 29th?

CW3 Hill: Way back in early 2005 I discovered this mod for UT4 (UT3 first actually) called Red Orchestra: Combined Arms. I played it infrequently as the mod was developed and tested. Then in 2006 Tripwire released, on Steam, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41 - 45. I didn't get a Steam account until the summer of 2007 but then, purchased the much-improved RO. RO:OST was shaping up to be an FPS like nothing I'd seen before. I often played and soon became a member of a competitive clan called Strength In Numbers (-[SiN]-) under the moniker "Rellikplug-[SiN]-" playing in two different organized leagues; RO Ladder and RO League. After about a year and a half of competitive league play with -[SiN]- I started playing the new mod for RO:OST called Darkest Hour 1944.

The 29th always had the best-managed server with good players, so I hung out there a lot. I was always able to scratch that mil-sim itch by a session on the 29th server. I was very active and got to know and play with many 29th guys and added them to my Steam friends. I participated in the Friday pub scrims religiously and just couldn't get enough of that cohesive, organized, and disciplined game-play. I finally enlisted with the 29th in October of 2009 and the rest, as they say, is history.

PFC Donofrio: You have had a long career in the 29th, just over seven years to be exact, what about the 29th has made you stick around so long?

CW3 Hill: I came for the milk but stayed because I fell in love with the goat.

I joined because I liked the realism style game-play and was interested in what the 29th was doing. The 29th's Basic Combat Training opened my eyes to what the 29th is. I was awestruck at the level of organization and sheer effort a group was putting into constructing and maintaining an environment of learning and fun. After BCT (292nd TP) I was placed into a squad and was again struck by how organized the leadership was. The reason I have remained a member of the 29th for all these years is because I know, with absolute certainty, there is no other unit/clan/group out there in any other game that does what we do in the 29th. None that are as organized, respectful, tolerant, diligent, and focused. The 29th has a system of management and engagement with its members that is second to none.

PFC Donofrio: You have held many jobs and responsibilities, including quite a few staff positions over the years, did you have a favorite or one that stood out to you the most?

CW3 Hill: I enjoyed my time in all the various staff positions I've been in. It is always a pleasure to work with the members of the different offices and leadership groups to make the 29th operate smoothly and grow. If I had to pick a favorite job, I'd have to pick Platoon Clerk.

PFC Donofrio: Could you give any comments on your experiences in the 29th with Darkest Hour, what AITs you trained with, and any leadership positions and responsibilities you had?

CW3 Hill: I started out in the 29th as a rifleman, just like everyone does. A short time later I picked up the Automatic Rifle (Heavy) AIT and became acquainted with the BAR and STG44. I've stuck with that AIT my entire career in the 29th.

PFC Donofrio: Like myself, we both first came from the Darkest Hour branch of the 29th, what prompted you to switch over from Darkest Hour to Arma 3?

CW3 Hill: Before adopting Arma 3 the 29th had made a different game home for Charlie Company. Before the branching into more games happened, and maybe before it was being discussed Charlie Company, outside of official drills was engaged in playing a mod for Arma 2: Combined Operations called Invasion 1944. Captain Morra and I would take turns building missions and hosting fight nights for anyone in the 29th to come and play some WWII in Arma. I am not sure how or when the notion to branch into other games first came about, but it was in August of 2013 when Battalion announced the official branching into RO2/RS and Arma 2 I44. I was a Platoon Sergeant in CP2 at the time, so I didn't have any direct influence on the organizational aspects or details of moving Charlie Company from DH to A2:I44. Cpt. Morra and I did have many, many conversations regarding the different aspects of Arma2 and I44 as they might relate to or facilitate the 29th. I was not going to leave Charlie Company.

PFC Donofrio: When the 29th decided to branch out and create a company based in Arma 3 where you apart of making that process happen? If so, how?

CW3 Hill: Our foray into A2:I44 was ultimately short-lived for many reasons.

I'll quote Captain Morra:

Over the course of the past four months we have been in A2 I44. During which many have experienced good times and bad times. Through all of it, we did manage to accomplish quite a bit in a very short period. It is apparent that both the game (A2 I44) and the amount of people playing, limits both the fun and growth of the company.

Our first official drill in Arma 3 was on February 2nd, 2014. I continued for four more months as Platoon Sergeant of CP2 then was transferred to Charlie Company HQ in June of 2014. Together with the rest of the Charlie leadership team, we made many changes in Charlie Company to adapt to the new environment and opportunities that were provided by ArmA 3. I continued to play an integral role in the technical aspects of Arma i.e. mission making, mod management, solving mod issues, etc. both as an advisor and now as a policy maker within the company.

PFC Donofrio: What do you think, if anything, sets Arma 3 away from the other two games the 29th are deployed in, both positive and negative?

CW3 Hill: I don't view the differences between the games the 29th is involved in being positive or negative. Each game provided something unique and entertaining in its own way. I don't have any dislike for RO2/RS or DH. For me, I enjoy the grand scope of the large terrains and the endless possibilities Arma 3 has to offer.

The Arma series is the retail version of the enterprise level Virtual Battlespace (VBS) by the same developer (BIS) used by military organizations for training. Because of this, ArmA 3 has a level of simulations that does not exist in the other games the 29th plays. With this level of simulation come added complexities and an added layer of work. Also, the Arma series has a massive community involved with modifications, and Arma 3 was designed to take full advantage of the creativity of the community by making the game highly customizable. From adding small custom sound and animation changes to introducing dinosaurs or the shuttlecraft from the mod Star Trek: The Next Generation, there is virtually no limit to the things that can be created for our use.

PFC Donofrio: As the commanding officer, you oversee, do a lot of paperwork, and continue to strengthen the abilities of those under your command. But you also do a lot of technical jobs as well, making maps and missions, scripting, continually in the editor, etc. For the folks who do not know a lot about ArmA 3, could you go into more detail about some of the more technically related work you do for the Charlie Company?

CW3 Hill: I could, but then this would become way too long.

I do nothing alone; there is a team of people who I draw support from, and nothing would get done without them. It is a lot of work on the back-end. I am thankful to work with such great people in in the 29th that make it all worth it. At the end of the day, I get great satisfaction when the guys are having fun and enjoying what we do in the 29th.

PFC Donofrio: Just as a fun fact, If you had to guess how many hours you spent in the editor, designing a mission, or scripting, what would that be?

CW3 Hill: Way too many.

Rellikplug Arma 3 Gameplay Hours

PFC Donofrio: What keeps you motivated to spend so much of your time, not only leading Charlie company but being such an integral part of keeping Arma 3’s environment so well catered to the 29th?

CW3 Hill: The people. It's that simple. I put in effort and time because people enjoy the results.

PFC Donofrio: I would like to thank you for your time Chief, not only for your years of dedicated service, and countless hours of time on the Arma 3 engine, but also for taking the time to let me interview you today, I know your schedule is busy.

CW3 Hill: I am happy to pour out my soul to you ;)

PFC Donofrio: As a 29th veteran, do you have any words of advice for aspiring members of the 29th to gain the most out of their careers?

CW3 Hill: Pay attention to the details. Be selfless in your efforts. Be honest and loyal. Do it, whatever it is, because you enjoy it.

I have often heard those with high standing leadership in the 29th say they wish they could put the 29th on their resume. The work they do to help run the unit smoothly is so great they feel as though it's something their employers should know. But alas, the 29th is a gaming community, and unfortunately, an employer will most likely not understand or even consider the work, some of us do for the 29th relevant to the real world workplace. Chief does all the hard work that comes with being a commanding officer, but he gives his time and involves himself in making content in the game for Charlie members, that isn't required.

I do not know the full inadequate extent Charlie Company would be in without Chief Hill, and I know Charlie members feel the same way. Please when you see Chief Hill, thank him for his work. Happy Seven years in the 29th Chief!, thank you for all the hard work that you have done, and will do in the future, leaders like you make the 29th Infantry Division so successful. Salute

Written by: PFC Donofrio
Edited by: WO1 Brewer and PFC Plumbley
Approved by: CoCA and Bn. S3


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