KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III visited soldiers from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon, holding a town hall meeting March 26 to address the Army’s future challenges and touring the task force’s maintenance facilities.
“The only way this works is if we have a discussion,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Chandler said. “[Soldiers’] feedback helps the Chief of the Staff of the Army [Gen. Raymond Odierno]...make well-informed decisions about the future of the force.”
More than 100 soldiers crowded into a Task Force Falcon hangar to hear Chandler speak on issues ranging from budget constraints to Soldier resilience.
One of the Army’s foremost priorities for the future of the force is the elimination of sexual harassment, he said. Chandler repeatedly engaged Falcon soldiers with questions of how the Army could improve awareness and combat misconduct.
“Inappropriate actions, conversations – this is not professional, this does not belong in our workplace,” said Chandler. “Commitment, character and competence are what we say define us as professionals. Apply those three things in everything you do.”
After he spoke, Chandler held a question-and-answer session with the audience and awarded coins to 10 outstanding Falcon soldiers.
Private Matthew Herrin, a human resources specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon, said he appreciated the chance to meet ler.
“I was glad he talked about educational benefits, because I’m looking to take classes while I’m here,” said Herrin.
Chandler then took a brief tour of a Task Force Falcon maintenance bay, where soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment and the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion demonstrated the work that sustains aviation operations in southern Afghanistan.
Chandler said the resilience of Task Force Falcon soldiers in the wake of tragedy was an Army-wide inspiration.
“I can’t thank you enough for what you guys do,” said Chandler. “Your ability to continue the mission after so much personal sacrifice is the highest example of what it means to be a soldier.”