News: CSA visits Bayonet ‘Team of Teams’
Story by Staff Sgt. Lindsey Kibler
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, and brigade commanders from within the division welcomed the 38th chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, June 26 at the division headquarters on Lewis North, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Odierno spent the better half of the afternoon with Lanza and Bayonet commanders discussing the importance of a ready, resilient, engaged Army of professionals as the force reduces its numbers to 490,000 by 2017.
Since taking command, Lanza has instituted initiatives within the 7th Infantry Division and entrusted leaders under his command to conduct leader development training, enhance training by utilizing live, virtual, constructive gaming platforms, and build ready and resilient soldiers by developing an aggressive, proactive Ready and Resilient Campaign (R2C) that begins at the lowest echelons within the division.
These initiatives were driven from the directives given by Odierno to leaders throughout the Army. His top priorities include Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (what Odierno told commanders is his number one priority), leader development, soldier and family resiliency, home station training, property accountability, and suicide and hazing prevention.
Lanza opened up the room for a round-table type of discussion with Odierno to allow commanders to brief Odierno about the results of the division-wide SHARP Stand-Up Day, June 18, which incorporated sensing sessions, interactive and skit-based training for soldiers regardless of rank or position within the ranks.
“I think the powerful aspect here is not just the SHARP Stand-Up Day but what we want to do in that campaign, and the command policies and procedures to put into place at all levels. This gets into the bystander issue. It gets into the trust issue,” Lanza said.
“We have to sustain trust between ourselves and our soldiers,” Odierno explained. “We have to sustain trust between soldiers and leaders. We have to sustain trust between soldiers, leaders, families, and the Army and we have to sustain trust between the Army and the American people. Right now, we have an insider threat that’s challenging that trust and that’s the threat of sexual harassment, sexual assault. I’m spending a lot of time on this issue. Why? Because I believe that it’s eroding at the core of the Army.
“We, soldiers, have to trust each other. We have to stand side-by-side in Afghanistan, in Iraq. We shouldn’t have one soldier afraid of another soldier because they are afraid they may be sexually assaulted. That’s unacceptable to me. … The only way we are going to be able to fix it, is all of us together fixing this problem. This takes action at the lowest level. I need you all to take this on. For us to be a successful Army, we need every soldier (to) feel comfortable in an environment and continue to grow as an individual so we can grow collectively. So I need your help eradicating this insider threat that we have to our military.”
Following the command brief at division headquarters, the chief visited soldiers with the 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Fires Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, for an overview on the integrated training environment the 17th Fires Brigade has been operating under since budget cuts have limited training at places such as Yakima Training Center.
Before departing, Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III held a town hall meeting with JBLM battalion commanders and command sergeants majors where Odierno made note of how impressed he was with soldiers who continue to do so much despite fiscal constraints because of how resilient and adaptive they have become, which is a reflection of their character, their families and their leadership.