By Dolly Rairigh Glass

Colonel Vincent Malone grew up in a large family, and when it came time for him to consider what colleges he might attend, his father suggested West Point. He was doing well in school, active in Scouting, and played on the football team, so his dad thought he had a chance of getting in.

Col. Malone

West Point graduate Malone is the new Project Manager, Training Devices.

“Dad didn’t push any of us in the military, but what he did push was a good college education,” Malone said. “He was looking for a good fit for me and having put six kids through college before me, I’m sure funds were getting a little tight. Dad brought me the application and asked me what I thought. I said that wasn’t really what I was thinking.”

His dad responded, “That’s fine son. I don’t think you could have gotten in anyway.” And with those words, as good parents do, Malone’s dad had given him the needed incentive to rise to the occasion. He completed his application and was accepted to West Point. “I decided to give it a shot, and I never looked back,” Malone said.

Malone is the new Project Manager, Training Devices (PM TRADE), where the mission is to develop, deliver and sustain live training capability for the U.S. Army. PM TRADE’s products enable Soldiers to conduct force-on-force and force-on-target training in an operational environment as opposed to the virtual or constructive world.

In this new role, Malone feels an important priority for him is setting the conditions for success. “I provide another set of eyes, a different perspective or an alternative approach,” Malone said. “Sometimes it’s direction, but generally it’s setting the condition for their success so that our product managers can do the direct management and the direct decision-making for their assigned programs.”

“They (PM TRADE) are a good team. They’re very competent and committed to what they do,” Malone said. “They always come in with good ideas and good plans on how things need to be done. If there are any adjustments to be made, it’s typically just minor tweaks to the plan along the way.”

Malone grew up in a very small town in northeast Texas, where his playground was acres of woods that surrounded his house. When he was a kid, he played in those woods, building forts and exploring what lay beyond the next bend. As he got a little older, he began playing organized sports, first recreational summer baseball, but when he was in junior high, he played football and later made the varsity high school team his sophomore year.

Aside from sports, he was also active in Boys Scouts. “My dad was really great at setting the kids up and getting involved. He would help us set goals and work to achieve our goals,” said Malone. Malone later became an Eagle Scout, and did so with his dad by his side, volunteering on the Boy Scout board and supporting the organization.

Malone’s dad stressed to his children the importance of these activities and was also focused on setting up the kids for professional life. Although his dad never went out of his way to push military life, he served in the Navy and in WWII. Upon return from WWII, he attended the Colorado School of Mines, where he enlisted in the Army ROTC.

It wasn’t until later when Malone was commissioned that he found out his father had also served in the Army. “He was throwing out a lot of Army terms after I was commissioned and it was only then I learned he had served as an engineer Platoon Leader in the reserves and was almost activated during the Korean conflict.”

With a career in the Army spanning nearly 25 years, Malone has enjoyed all of his assignments but finds there are two he thinks about the most. The first was his original assignment in the Army, where he was the Platoon Leader in the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment in Alaska, where they spent the summer months training like any other infantry but in the winter months, did their training as artic soldiers. That meant operating at temperatures well below zero, and rarely stopping operations unless the thermometer dropped below minus 50.

Looking back, Malone said the training in preparation for this assignment was really challenging, realistic training and when he reflects back, he has a sense of accomplishment. “It gives me a sense that although something may look tough, I have been through tough situations before and I will get through this as well.

“You never forget what it’s like to be a Soldier – cold, wet and carrying a heavy load for a long time,” Malone said. “So when we encounter obstacles that delay our efforts here, you understand the impact of that. That assignment helps me to keep what we do in perspective. The true impact out there to the Army.”

Another meaningful assignment was his first acquisition assignment as a new Major. Malone was an Assistant Product Manager in PM Light Tactical Vehicles and found this experience to be enlightening, as he learned so much about acquisition from the two programs he was given, one in the early stages of development and one in production.

“I got to see both sides,” Malone explained. “I was doing the early, upfront planning in one, and actually manufacturing and fielding a vehicle in the other one.” Malone looks back at that experience and wants his APMs to have the same opportunity to learn what he did because he feels that will help set them up to move forward in the Acquisition Corps. “I want them to have more than the title of APM, but also to have the opportunities and responsibilities, so with some mentorship they learn and grow and are prepared to be PMs in the future.”

Malone likes the coaching role, and helping his team to set and achieve goals. He also likes to provide that same kind of support to his daughter, Brooke, whether in her studies, the courses she takes or planning out what she wants to achieve in college. And that support transitions from the classroom to the pool. Brooke swims for both a swim club and her high school, and Malone and his wife, Carol, are hopeful Brooke will have the opportunity to continue swimming in college.

“Everything my dad did with me was a learning experience and helped in setting me up for life,” said Malone. “That’s kind of the attitude that I’ve taken with my daughter as well, and I want to do everything I can to help her grow and learn.”

Malone is not only focused on helping others grow, it’s just as important to him that he uses opportunities before him to do the same. Back in his APM position, he looked forward to the chance to serve as a PM. “As I talked with my wife about opportunities through the years and whether we should continue in the Army, I would tell her I’d like one more try,” Malone explained. “Fortunately the stars aligned and I got this assignment as PM, so I want to make the most out of this time here. I want to enjoy it and I want to make the team as successful as possible.”

Malone said there’s no doubt the Army is embarking on interesting times. In moving forward, it’s important how the Army postures itself to be successful whenever it comes out of this period of diminished resources. But even in these challenging times, there is still a demand to keep units trained.

“We have the need to keep the core strength of our leaders engaged or involved because they’re coming back with more than 10 years of combat experience,” Malone said. “If it’s not realistic and intuitive training, they won’t see the value in it.

“We have to be sure we’re keeping those people engaged because they come with a wealth of experience and are the leaders that we will need in the future.”

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