News: SMA, wife visit Joint Task Force Carson
Story by Sgt. William Smith
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Remaining ready and resilient while adapting to budget cuts was the constant theme Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III shared with members of the Fort Carson community May 15-16.
“We have programs for families to help them with the resiliency challenges that they might face,” Chandler said. “Fort Carson has started a pilot program for Spouse Master Resiliency Trainers, which began a few months ago. It trains spouses how to deliver master resilience training; that is really powerful.”
The Army’s top enlisted adviser visited units, held town hall meetings addressing topics ranging from hazing to sexual assault, and spoke one-on-one with soldiers about their personal career paths.
Chandler’s visit began at Stack Dining Facility, where he spoke with soldiers from various units, addressing their concerns and asking them about different topics that affect soldiers’ everyday readiness. Following his DFAC visit, he spent the day with Fort Carson leaders and toured 4th Combat Aviation Brigade facilities.
“I appreciated the time that the sergeant major of the Army took to come down to see what we do, and personally talk to the soldiers, and present coins for all of the hard work that soldiers do,” said Sgt. Mike Tiller, Company D, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th CAB, 4th Infantry Division.
The second day, along with visits to various locations across Fort Carson, Chandler addressed about 400 soldiers and family members at McMahon Auditorium, discussing topics affecting the future of all soldiers and families, and answering questions about any concerns they had.
“Be engaged leaders, which means you have to know your Soldiers,” Chandler said. “You have to establish a bond of trust between you and that soldier, and know what is going on in their life beyond the scope of the Army.
“Don’t worry about the budget; we will get through it as we have done before,” he said. “Train to the best ability possible. Sustain and maintain your equipment. Continue to build the team, so you will be ready for whatever comes, and maintain that esprit de corps.”
Chandler also spoke with Warrior Leader Course attendees, and the noncommissioned officers charged with training the leaders of tomorrow, handed out coins, and chaired a question-and-answer session with them.
Soldiers and noncommissioned officers competing in the combatives portion of the Fort Carson Soldier and NCO of the Year competition were excited when Chandler congratulated and award them a coin for their performances.
“It is exciting to have the sergeant major of the Army take the time to show that he cares about soldiers at all levels of the Army,” said Pfc. Heather Scogin, health care specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.
The sergeant major of the Army’s wife, Jeanne Chandler, spent her time at Fort Carson visiting various Family Readiness Groups, reading to children at Patriot Elementary School and had lunch with attendees of the SMRT pilot program at the Family Readiness Center.
“A year and a half ago, I went to the University of Pennsylvania and sat in on a full day of the Master Resiliency Training for Soldiers,” Jeanne Chandler said. “It was an ‘aha’ moment for me, because I was raised with ‘quitters never win and winners never quit.’
“My approach to a bad situation was to steel myself, toughen up, and close off my emotions,” Jeanne Chandler said. “The MRT for spouses to teach spouses is terrific. Military spouses will be able to empathize better with another military spouse much better than other people.”
While in Colorado, the Chandlers also attended the 2013 Warrior, a Paralympic-style competition held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the U.S. Air Force Academy, where wounded warriors from the Army, Navy and Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines and the United Kingdom represented their services.
“I think that the Warrior Games exemplify resilience,” the sergeant major of the Army said. “When you have a Soldier who has visible or invisible wounds; their ability to bounce back from some very horrific injuries and wounds of war and compete against others; that is amazing.”
The trip marked the Chandlers’ second visit to Task Force Carson since he became the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army, March 1, 2011.