“It is not the position in which you stand, but the direction in which you look.”
The TRADOC Spotlight recognizes the contributions and shares the perspectives of Soldiers and civilians throughout U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command as they work each day to help train, educate and develop the greatest Army in the world.
Staff Sgt. Jo Desiree’ Schaus is the 2014 U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Noncommissioned Officer Instructor of the Year. She has deployed several times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and has completed many schools, including Company Intelligence Support Team, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention and Equal Opportunity. Thank you for your service, SSG Schaus!
Unit: Fort Leonard Wood, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, 3rd Chemical Brigade, 58th Transportation, Headquarters and Headquarters Company
Duty title: Instructor/Writer 88M3P8
Hometown: Evergreen, Alabama
How do you feel about your nomination? I feel humbled and overwhelmed with excitement.
Time with TRADOC: November 2013 (2 years)
Time with the Army: 13 years
The thing I like most about my job: The thing I like most about my career is training Soldiers and the pride I feel when they overcome an obstacle that, prior to this course, they swore they would never be able to overcome. It is extremely rewarding.
Best TRADOC (or Army) memory: It is far too difficult to name just one great memory and call it my best.
– As a young Soldier, I remember being on a field training exercise at Fort Pickett, Viriginia, laying in the mud at 0300. There was a thunderstorm, I was cold, and all I wanted was food. I remember laughing and saying to myself “Yep, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
– Great moments are made when you see your peers, subordinates and superiors excel. When Soldiers get promoted or receive an award, I don’t even have to know them personally, and I feel a huge sense of pride for them.
– I have never felt so many emotions as I did when I returned from my fifth deployment and held my young son, who was only 5 months old when I deployed with 173rd Airborne to Afghanistan, marking 54 months deployed combat time. I remember having real fear that he wouldn’t remember me, which is a fear much deeper, different and personal than anything I have ever felt. Though he was barely talking, he ran to me – and I to him, he touched my face, smiled and said “Hey Mama!” I could barely muster the words “Hey my baby” back to him.
Why did you join the Army? I liked the look of a Soldier; I wanted the title of a Soldier; I wanted the respect and discipline of a Soldier. I wanted to be part of something far bigger than myself. I wanted the camaraderie of the Army.
Greatest accomplishment/proudest moment: My proudest moment is when my older Soldiers call me for advice or to tell me about their newest accomplishment. Moments when you realize you have finally reached the point where Soldiers follow you — not because they have to, but because they want to.
Career goals: My career goal is to be the second female Regimental command sergeant major. Upon retirement, I will work for the Department of Human Resources as a social worker and rape crisis counselor.
Favorite quote/motto/piece of advice: I have two mottos that get me through personal and professional life:
“Success is optional, excelling is not.” – Jo Schaus
“It is not the position in which you stand, but the direction in which you look.” – author unknown
The advice I give to all Soldiers is “Do not set your goals to merely meet the standard; set your goals to exceed the standard.”
What motivates you? My son, who is now 3 years old, motivates me. I want my son to be proud. The smile on his face first thing in the morning melts my heart. I am a huge morning person; I am always happy and smiling, and he takes it to the next level. For as long as I can remember, people ask “Why do you smile so much?” My response is “Why not?”