Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
After more than 60 Command and General Staff Officer course students embarked on the journey of the Master Logistician competition in January, Maj. Sean McFarling has come out on top as the recipient of the Major General James M. Wright Distinguished Master Logistician Award for the CGSOC class of 2020.
“It’s humbling, and obviously, I’m proud,” McFarling said. “I had a lot of leaders that helped shape me, guide me and put me in challenging positions prior to getting here that helped prepare me for the Master Logistician competition.
“I knew it was something I wanted to do because I wanted to challenge myself,” he said. “I thought I’d be able to do well and wanted to see how my sustainment knowledge was.”
The Master Logistician award was established in 1983. The purpose of the award is “to provide a challenging academic forum for students demonstrating a special aptitude for logistics,” according to the Command and General Staff College Foundation website.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the normally three-phase competition only included two phases.
The first phase, conducted in January, was a four-hour written logistics examination that encompassed a wide range of subjects, including corps logistics and financial management operations.
McFarling said phase one was the most difficult for him.
“It went into a lot of depth and detail regarding systems and processes across the sustainment warfighting function,” McFarling said. “For me, just to have the energy and endurance to get through that, I was pretty spent by the end of the test.”
The second phase, which the top eight candidates participated in, brought them in front of a board of logisticians who asked a series of scenario-based logistics questions.
McFarling said the second phase was more in his comfort zone.
“I like using white board,” McFarling said. “When they said it was an hour-long discussion, and I had a white board to be able to draw stuff out, I had a lot of fun with it.”
McFarling and three other competitors were named finalists in the competition with McFarling taking the final award.
McFarling said the past year at CGSOC has reaffirmed what he’s learned from previous duty assignments.
“I’m a Medical Service Corps officer but I also went to the Logistics Captains Career Course,” McFarling said. “I was fortunate enough to spend two years on a division-level staff, so I got to go through a division warfighter and that definitely helped me prepare for the transition to large-scale combat operations.
“I’ve learned a lot about the operational and strategic level of war and strategy,” he said. “(CGSOC) helped me reinforce things that I knew and gave me a deeper level of knowledge and understanding.”
After graduation, McFarling will go on to work as an assignments officer at Human Resources Command in Fort Knox, Ky.