JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 7th Infantry Division hosted John McHugh, 21st Secretary of the Army, in a visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Feb. 4. The visit is his third to JBLM since being appointed Secretary of the Army in 2009.
After landing at McChord Field, McHugh traveled to the Courage Inn dining facility to eat lunch and chat with soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, who recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.
After lunch, McHugh paid a visit to the Flight Simulator Training Center. Soldiers from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade briefed McHugh on the progress the 16th CAB has made since moving to JBLM in August 2011.
McHugh also visited the AH-64E and UH-60M flight simulators at the FSTC to get a firsthand look at the capabilities the FSTC offers in training the Army’s aviators.
Next, McHugh went to the Mission Command Training facility, where the 17th Fires Brigade was conducting live, virtual, and constructive simulation training.
“Through the use of the blended live, virtual, constructive training concept we were able to replicate the entire brigade, even though about 70 percent were unavailable, and execute effective multi-echelon training,” Col. Ken Kamper, the 17th Fires commander, told McHugh.
Finally, McHugh held a press conference focusing on soldiers’ mental well-being.
“Taking care of soldiers is one of our top priorities. It is not just a necessity but a moral imperative,” McHugh said.
At the conference, McHugh said that with a comprehensive, Army-wide review of behavioral health analyses and diagnoses now complete, the Army would incorporate the study’s findings into its behavioral health care system.
“I am ordering the development of an Army-wide Ready and Resilient Campaign Plan to standardize and synchronize effective support programs,” McHugh said.
The new plan will develop a holistic approach to integrate key services, provide leaders with vital tools and timely information, and assist in the identification of “at-risk” soldiers, McHugh explained.
“We have accomplished a great deal, but recognize there is more to be done. We remain committed to creating a culture of awareness, encouragement and acceptance for personnel seeking help. It is our duty to assist them in every way and rest assured I and the entire Army leadership are dedicated to getting this right,” McHugh said.
Tomorrow, McHugh will visit with members of I Corps, the Army Medical Command at Madigan Army Medical Center, and tour the facilities of the National Center for Telehealth and Technology.