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Welcome to SFC Summerlin
Our newest Harding Project teammate
Welcome to Sergeant First Class Leyton M. Summerlin, the newest member of the Harding Project team!
GEN George and SMA Weimer recognize Summerlin for “Standardizing Excellence” in Infantry magazine
Leyton’s path to the Harding Project started with an article that sought to scale leader development—communicating laterally to other passionate leaders.
As the Maneuver Center of Excellence Drill Sergeant of the Year, Leyton and his team created a leadership class that changed how drill sergeants in the infantry brigades were developed and, in turn, helped produce better soldiers. The foundation of this class became a mantra: "better people make better soldiers, and better soldiers are more lethal.”
With his departure from Fort Moore approaching, Sergeants Major Derrick Gardner and Erik Gonzales, his mentors, pushed him to capture his class in writing. But Leyton had reservations. Growing up, Summerlin was a math and science guy. Those topics had objective and definitive answers. English and writing seemed to be the opposite, never as straightforward as math. In high school Leyton even failed junior English twice. (To this day, Leyton is still convinced that his teacher only passed him because he did not want to deal with him for another year.)
Despite these reservations and doubts, Leyton captured the lesson in an article because he owed it to the passionate drill sergeants—and his profession. It wasn’t easy. Locked in his room. Battling writer's block. With the help of his wife, he turned his two-day class into an essay. He still wasn’t sure if anyone would care about the paper, or even what to do with the essay once it was written.
After finishing the article, he decided, on a whim, to take it down the hall to Infantry magazine. Infantry included the article in their Summer 2023 issue.
Leyton’s path to professional writing and the Harding Project wasn’t straightforward or what he had expected. It has been a long, painful, growth-filled journey, but he wouldn’t change any of it. Leyton is excited to continue to write, strengthening himself as a leader and a communicator. He looks forward to finding new ways to inspire soldiers to write and share their ideas or experiences as he renews the Army’s professional publications and returns to the force.
Leyton asks that anyone reading this who feels like they can’t pen their thoughts take the time to try—and to reach out to him for help.