FORT CARSON, Colo. – Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, talked with leaders and Soldiers while taking a tour of Fort Carson, Colo., July 24.
“I’m excited about our Army,” Odierno said. “Everywhere I go, I talk to Soldiers and they love what they do.”
During his visit, he watched Soldiers with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, perform a situational training exercise focused on modern conventional warfare.
Afterwards, he received a tour of 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., and talked to Soldiers as they performed routine maintenance on their helicopters. Later, he had lunch with first sergeants from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., and finished the day meeting with the senior Fort Carson leaders at the 4th Inf. Div. headquarters.
Odierno stressed to the leaders the importance of taking care of Soldiers, professional development, continued readiness and strong leadership.
“The greatest asymmetric [advantage] of our Army is our leaders,” Odierno said. “It takes years to develop good leaders, so start now.
“Don’t assume your junior leaders know how to do leader development,” Odierno said. “It takes extra effort to really develop our junior noncommissioned and commissioned officers. You need … leader development programs at all your levels: brigade, battalion and company.
“It doesn’t have to be formal,” Odierno said. “It’s probably best if it is a combination of formal and informal. Spend some time every two weeks with those you are mentoring; be engaged and talk to them. A good mentorship program goes two levels down.”
Odierno talked about military education as an important aspect of professional development. Commanding General Maj. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, echoed Odierno’s sentiments.
“We can’t hold onto people. We have to send them to schools. A battalion without one captain isn’t going to make or break a unit,” LaCamera said. “We have to make sure that we have the depth of knowledge needed to deploy our troops, because there will be no left and right seat transfers for upcoming expeditionary missions.”
Odierno stressed the importance of continued readiness in handling the dynamics in today’s global environment.
“The world we live in is growing more uncertain and unpredictable. We don’t know what events will happen that will make our elected officials want to use military force,” Odierno said. “We have to make sure that we’re prepared to go, and continued readiness is what we need to attain at the unit level.
“The way I see ahead is going to involve small task organized deployments with potential to grow,” Odierno said. “Our younger leaders are going to be responsible and accountable for making larger decisions.”
Two important topics Odierno finished the meeting with were stewardship and force management.
“We have to maintain readiness and effectively use every dollar we have in our budgets,” Odierno said. “Our numbers for contingency operations are going to be staying the same while our main Army is reducing size.
Odierno reminded the leaders to keep their eyes on the horizon while maintaining the Army’s strength.
“I always want to make sure that you know it is a marathon – not a sprint,” Odierno said. “Take care of each other and your Soldiers.”