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    Chandler visits RC South troops

    Chandler visits RC South troops

    Photo By Sgt. Antony Lee | The Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Raymond F. Chandler III, addresses Soldiers during a...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Eric Glassey 

    ISAF Regional Command South

    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, the U.S. Army’s senior noncommissioned officer, talked with soldiers during visits to three locations in Regional Command (South) in southern Afghanistan, Sept. 22-23.

    During stops to Forward Operating Base Walton, FOB Apache, and Kandahar Airfield, he held three town hall meetings to discuss issues he is currently working to correct, such as sexual assault, hazing and suicide, while also taking the time to answer soldiers’ questions about various current events. He also joined junior soldiers and NCOs for meals at all three locations.

    At the Kandahar Airfield town hall, Chandler broached sexual harassment by having a soldier recall an event where they had something stolen.

    Sgt. Hilary Lugo, intelligence analyst, Regional Command (South), talked about her first few weeks in the Army and having her towels stolen.

    “How did that make you feel?” Chandler asked.

    “Cold,” Lugo said, to laughs recalling getting out of the shower and having her towels stolen. “I didn’t know who took them and who I could trust.”

    “I use this analogy because she lost trust in her fellow soldiers and her leaders,” Chandler said. “When you know someone who has been sexually harassed or assaulted; they had their dignity and respect stolen.”

    Another issue that Chandler talked about was suicide.

    “I believe (suicide) is preventable,” Chandler said. “I believe that if someone is suffering with some issue, someone knows about it.”

    Chandler also talked about hazing - the practice of rituals and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation.

    “We are all responsible for what we do to each other,” Chandler said. “Why do we tolerate (hazing)? You should know your soldiers, and you should know how best to motivate them.”

    Chandler called the solders to action regarding behavior within the ranks.

    “We’ve got problems that have to do with our professionalism,” Chandler said. “This is not about an individual, it’s about the entire Army – our overall perception. We got to change the perception from negative to positivity. I’m not looking for you to make a difference for the Army; do it for each other.”

    Another topic addressed at the Kandahar Airfield town hall was the current financial uncertainty in Washington.

    “The secretary of the Army is working very hard to ensure you get paid,” Chandler said. “The last thing we want you to worry about is finances while you are here.”

    Chandler also addressed changes in the noncommissioned officer evaluation report system.

    “The NCOER is going to be based on rank,” Chandler said. “Junior NCOs will have tactical, sergeants first class, master sergeants and first sergeants will have organizational, and sergeants major will have organizational NCOERs.”

    Another topic of soldiers’ concern was tuition assistance

    “There are going to be changes to the tuition assistance, but we are not sure what they are going to be,” Chandler said.

    Some possible changes include: not having access to tuition assistance when flagged, having to perform your job after initial training for a year or a possible reduction in the amount of money available for assistance, Chandler said.

    “Having tuition assistance cannot impact our ability to be a ready Army,” Chandler concluded.

    Leaders were present with their soldiers as they listened to Chandler.

    “It’s been a great day,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Brian M. Stall, Regional Command (South) and 4th Infantry Division command sergeant major, “It’s always good to have the sergeant major of the Army come visit soldiers halfway around the world, getting after the Army mission.”



    Date Taken: 09.22.2013
    Date Posted: 09.23.2013 12:23
    Story ID: 114105

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