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    Army command sergeant major visits 49th MPs in Baghdad

    Command sergeant major Visits Camp Liberty

    Photo By Sgt. Kenneth Bince | The Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston talks to Soldiers from the California...... read more read more

    BAGHDAD, IRAQ

    06.30.2010

    Story by Spc. Edward Siguenza 

    49th Military Police Brigade

    CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Close to 50 enlisted Soldiers in the 49th Military Police Brigade shared a rare opportunity with one of the United States Army’s elite figures.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston, command sergeant major of the entire US Army, visited the California Army National Guardsmen, June 26, at the 49th compound. Command Sgt. Maj. Preston is on a Middle East tour, meeting Soldiers to get ideas on improving the Army overall. For almost two hours, he briefed 49th Soldiers on upcoming events and answered questions.

    “I wish you all the greatest success when you get back home,” said Maj. Preston. “Just remember to don’t get complacent. Stay focused on your current mission. It’s not over until it’s over. I’ve seen a lot of units that kind of let their guard down in the past. Just stay vigilant until you get home.”

    The 49th concludes its Operation Iraqi Freedom mission this month. It returns to Fairfield, Calif. in early August.

    Command Preston is the senior enlisted advisor to Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff. The command sergeant major has occupied this position since January 2004.

    Two Soldiers – Sgts. Farrell Mapp and David Baynes – were proudly recognized. Command Sgt. Maj. Preston helped promote them to their present ranks, affixing their E-5 stripes before the remaining 49th Soldiers applauded.

    “It’s an honor to become a sergeant, and a bigger honor to have the Army command sergeant major pin my rank,” said Sgt. Baynes, of Livermore, Calif.

    The 49th’s command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Liles, initiated this historic meeting. He and Command Sgt. Maj. Preston have been friends since both attended the Sergeants Major Academy in 1995. Through email, they arranged the meeting. Command Sgt. Maj. Preston set time aside in his busy itinerary to see his old friend and his troops.

    “(His) schedule is far more consuming than I could fathom. I can’t begin to imagine all the people who just want five minutes of his time,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Liles. “Having said that, what an honor to have Command Sgt. Maj. Preston stop for the 49th.”

    Added Command Sgt. Maj. Liles, “Preston is a true Soldier’s Soldier. He’s doing what a great command sergeant major does: Visits the Soldier who makes it all happen.”

    Command Sgt. Maj. Preston has recently embarked on lengthy missions. In May and June he was in Korea and Hawaii, respectively, visiting Soldiers.

    Before the 49th, Command Sgt. Maj. Preston discussed current situations as well as upcoming events. He encouraged all Soldiers to complete an online Global Assessment Tool, a survey that discusses four of a Soldier’s strengths: Emotional, social, spiritual and family. He touched the subject about deployments, stating that currently, deployed Soldiers “commit 12 or 15 months of being mobilized. That may change in the near future.”

    “Military Police has been one of the most deployed career fields in the United States Army, even before 9-11,” he said. “Now, as you look at the roles and responsibilities that we’re doing around the world, now we’re even putting more of a demand on Military Police.”

    Global threats are still out there, Command Sgt. Maj. Preston explained. And the Army is still committed to eliminating them and assisting nations in their fight to prevent terror.

    “There are about 1,200 known terrorist groups around the world,” he added.

    The command sergeant major welcomed discussions. Fairfield native 1st Sgt. Ben Jandreau, 49th first sergeant, asked about future deployments for National Guardsmen. Sergeant Maj. Cheryl Williamson, 49th operations sergeant major, inquired about Soldier promotions. Staff Sgt. Frank Tsai, a Reno, Nev. resident, had the command sergeant major discuss new Army uniforms that Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan will wear.

    Preston ended his meeting awarding coins to 49th Soldiers. 1st Sgt. Jandreau pulled several aside to be recognized for their continuous efforts this deployment.

    “Very simply, this was a chance for junior Soldiers to have face-to-face questions and answers not just at an organizational level, but at a much larger scale and straight from the man himself,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Liles. “Again, I would have to say that every unit in this theater would love to have Preston convey his thoughts and past experiences. For the senior Noncommissioned Officer Corps, it's all about mentorship and professional development.”

    When asked about the possibility of Preston visiting California and meeting more Army and Air Guardsmen, Command Sgt. Maj. Liles nodded in agreement.

    “Stay tuned,” he said. “No promises. But get your blues ready.”

    The Army’s top enlisted advisor was accompanied by several of his regular staff members. His Iraq delegation included Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence K. Wilson, command sergeant major, United States Forces-Iraq.

    Sgt. Maj. Christopher Sommerville, operations sergeant major of the 49th Tactical Command Post, and Command Sgt. Maj. William F. Hutchings, 49th TAC CP command sergeant major, joined Command Sgt. Maj. Preston’s meeting.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.30.2010
    Date Posted: 06.30.2010 05:40
    Story ID: 52176
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ 

    Web Views: 768
    Downloads: 325
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