Colonel “Trout” Marshall is one of the deepest thinkers I know. Although we have not been stationed together for over two decades, our paths crossed a couple of times.  Each encounter reminded me that we are lucky to have the world’s most intelligent and caring leaders serving our country.  His eclectic experiences in the intelligence community, US Navy and US Air Force have given him an enviable perspective. He shares his thoughts and experiences on professional development and exportable techniques for effective coaching for succession and deliberate leadership training.  Colonel Marshall is the Commander of the 201 st Combat Operations Squadron, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii. He is responsible for the training, development, and mentorship of all Combat Operations Squadron personnel delivering combat power through the Air Operations Center (AOC) Weapon System.

Colonel Marshall graduated from the University of Washington and was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1998. Subsequently, Colonel Marshall graduated Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training and was qualified as an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Air Weapons Officer and eventually an Electronic Combat Officer. Before transitioning to the Air National Guard in 2002, Colonel Marshall deployed in support of Counterdrug Operations, as well as, Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM.

Colonel Marshall joined the 112th Air Operations Squadron (AOS), Pennsylvania Air National Guard then briefly transferred to the Arizona Air National Guard from 2006—2009. While in Arizona, Colonel Marshall greatly enjoyed training enlisted Weapons Directors as the Chief of Training Development, then Chief of Training, for the USAF Weapons Director School, Luke AFB, Ariz. Returning to the 112th in 2009, Colonel Marshall returned to his AOC roots prior to assuming duties as Commander.  During the Guard portion of his career, Colonel Marshall has deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and the predecessor to what became Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

Lieutenant Colonel Blom believes that aspiring leaders should place less emphasis on trendy leadership books and more emphasis on achieving personal and organizational clarity.  

Personal clarity begins with rigorous self-reflection:  before you can lead others, you must first be demonstrate the ability to lead yourself.  Aspiring leaders should ask themselves “Would you follow you?”  They must identify their personal development goals, areas for growth, and blind spots.  Once they have achieved this personal clarity, they must then create a personal-development plan to become the leader they envision!  

Second, the aspiring leader must achieve organizational clarity.  They need to ask themselves, “What makes my organization unique?”  Once they have identified the needs, strengths and weaknesses, and culture of their organization, they must develop a priority-based plan to achieve the organization’s mission!   

Lieutenant Colonel Blom is currently the commander of the 5th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, in Kadena, Japan.  He is a graduate of the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS), US Air Force Weapons School, US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and Squadron Officer School (SOS).  He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, a Master’s of Philosophy in Military Strategy from Air University, and a Master’s of Science in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Additionally, he has served in the Strategic Plans, Programs, and Requirements Directorate (A-5/8) at Headquarters US Air Force, Washington, DC, and has authored numerous articles on military operations, leadership, and personnel issues.