News: Sergeant Major of the Army visits Sledgehammer Brigade
Story by Sgt. Christopher Johnston
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III visited the soldiers of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, to discuss the shape of the Army and gather feedback from soldiers Monday at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
During his visit, Chandler spoke about some of the tougher issues the soldiers of today’s Army are facing.
Chandler asked for each and every soldier’s help taking care of each other and reducing the number of soldiers committing suicide.
“You can control what’s going on with the soldiers you lead. You can be involved in their lives. If you don’t supervise anyone, your friends are someone. You need to look out for them,” said Chandler.
People are afraid to ask for help with personal situations in their lives. When you have a problem with your weapon that you are unable to fix, what do you do? You ask for help, he explained.
“We have this ‘I am a professional, no one is more professional that I’ stuff,” said Chandler. “Part of your profession is, it’s OK to ask for help.”
The Army’s most senior noncommissioned officer also spoke with soldiers regarding sexual assault.
There were 1,701 reported sexual assaults last year. The Army provides soldiers with training and classes on prevention of sexual assault and agencies to take care of soldiers who have been sexually assaulted.
“I am not satisfied until we don’t have any more sexual assaults in the Army,” said Chandler. “We spout all this stuff, ‘everyone is supposed to have a battle buddy, we are gonna look out for each other,’ but we still have sexual assaults.”
“Why is it that if someone were to take a material possession, something we can buy and replace, we get pissed off? Why aren’t we pissed off when someone gets sexually assaulted? You can’t buy back somebody’s dignity or respect, you should be furious about that.”
“It’s us that are going to solve this problem. It’s not a program, not a poster, not a policy. It’s us actually living what we say.”
Chandler also interacted with soldiers on the topic of hazing in the Army.
He mentioned topics such as soldiers getting smoked, which equates to various physical exercises as a form of punishment, as well as a recent story of a promotion ceremony, that was shown on television and the internet, of a soldier getting hit in the chest with a wooden mallet.
“I’m disgusted, we have had a no hazing policy for at least 15 years now, and we still tolerate this type of behavior.”
Chandler said this is not the professionalism we should be presenting. While looking out at the nearly 200 soldiers present, he again asked for each and every one of their help to fix these issues present in the Army today.
Chandler also answered questions soldiers had about such topics as a proposed new tattoo policy, reenlistment bonuses, and military downsizing.
After the questions, Chandler took the time to take photographs with soldiers.