White Sands Missile Range Staff Judge Advocate Lt. Col. Brett Farmer is keeping the beat at WSMR as the new Staff Judge Advocate. (Photo by Miriam U. Rodriguez)
White Sands Missile Range Staff Judge Advocate Lt. Col. Brett Farmer is keeping the beat at WSMR as the new Staff Judge Advocate.
Farmer, who enjoys playing the drums as a hobby, said he is glad to be at WSMR. "You can't beat the view of the Organ Mountains," he said.
Farmer said his first impression was that WSMR is definitely a change of pace from Fort Bliss, where he was assigned as a deputy Staff Judge Advocate, before coming to WSMR, but the variety of missions here and issues that arise as a result of those missions is staggering.
"Fortunately, I've got an excellent team, and some of them have been here for quite some time and have shown me the ropes," he said.
Farmer said he joined the Army as a result of a positive experience he had as a student one summer. While a sophomore in high school he received a letter in the mail inviting him to come out to a West Point Military Academy Summer program for two weeks. He applied and was accepted and spent two weeks there at no cost. While there he found out about being an Army officer and got information about several career fields.
When it was time to graduate from high school he applied to West Point and was accepted.
Farmer said he decided early on in high school what he was good at and what he liked to do and decided to pursue a career in those areas. Since he was good at public speaking and liked to read, but definitely did not like math, he decided to become a lawyer.
While at the summer camp one of the electives was a mock trial. The judge preceding in the mock trial was a judge advocate. Farmer spoke to him afterwards and asked him about the career. He explained to him about the Funded Legal Education Program.
The program authorizes the selection of 25 active duty Army officers each year to obtain a legal education at government expense.
"You come back and serve in the Army as a judge advocate," he said. Farmer said he kept that information in the back of his mind for future reference. After he graduated and was commissioned he applied and was accepted to the Funded Legal Education Program, after which he was accepted into law school.
"The plan was simple - you come up with a plan and work backwards from where you want to be and everything falls into place," Farmer said when asked how he made planning his career seem so easy.
Farmer said not too many people know about the Funded Legal Education Program, but it is a great program and more people should apply for it.
In reference to his goals while at WSMR, Farmer said he wants to do a good job.
"I would like to consistently provide good, sound, reasonable advice that makes people's lives easier, and help our commanders make well informed decisions."
Speaking on leadership roles, Farmer said that from the time he was a cadet until now he has almost always been in a position where he is in charge of people.
One thing he has learned is that the key to being in charge of people is really just two things: If you want people to follow you – take everyone seriously – at every level, and if you want to motivate people – the single best motivator and most powerful motivator is gratitude.
"If people feel you are appreciative of what they have done they will walk through walls for you," Farmer said. "Be grateful for their work and show them genuine gratitude."