Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith, deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Army
Reserve, visits Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commanding general of III
Corps and Fort Hood on June 25, 2014 to discuss active duty Soldiers
transitioning to the Reserve component as an option to continue
serving in uniform. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Capt. Xeriqua
FORT BELVOIR, VA. – Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith, deputy chief of staff
of the U.S. Army Reserve, visited Fort Hood, Texas on June 25, 2014 to
talk about one thing: Taking care of Soldiers.
She met with
Reserve Career Component Counselors (RCCC) and Lt. Gen. Mark A.
Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, and his staff about
retaining America's military talent as they transition from the
active component to a Reserve position.
She was also invited to talk as the keynote speaker at Fort
Hood's first Pride Observance Month event, where she relayed her own
experiences of being the first openly gay general to serve in the
Her messages were clear: Stay Army Strong, be
who you are and understand options to continue to serve part-time
with the Reserve component.
Taking care of Soldiers is arming
them with the right information at the right time.
Howard B. Bromberg, U.S. Army deputy chief of staff, selected Fort
Hood as the test base for the Army Reserve 365 Pilot Program, also
known as AC2RC because of the volume of Soldiers transitioning out
The pilot is designed to extend the time allocated for RCCCs to
reach out to active duty transitioning soldiers and talk about their
“Start conversations earlier. This way, soldiers
know their choices better,” said Smith.
“I do like
talking to the Soldiers earlier so they can make good
decisions,” commented Sgt. Maj. Lisa Birkhead, III Corps
RCCC senior enlisted adviser. “Early contract is still an
issue, because they are not ready to commit.“
Meanwhile, the active Army is facing a
serious reduction in ranks in the coming months. They
dropped from 570,000 troops during the peak of the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars to 510,000, focused on an end strength of
Moving troops to civilian life is difficult
and notifications are already underway for 1,100 Army
captains and 500 majors for early separation.
must be human contact and compassion with what is happening
to them as people,” Smith said. “In addition, [informing
them of] what their choices are, now that they have been put
into this position.”
This is an opportunity for
Soldiers to seriously consider staying Army Strong with the
“Going into the Reserve is an amazing
opportunity to continue to be leader in uniform, and it's
also a practical opportunity to retain many of the benefits,
such as retirement, that they have already invested in with
their time in the active service,” said Smith.
Reserve option also means continued health and education
benefits, part-time employment and a chance to earn extra
pay while pursuing a career as a civilian or earning a
Her take-away from the visit was invaluable.
“All of the leaders I visited with are actively
engaged in the active-to-Reserve transition,” Smith said.
Smith was able to get a “few good nuggets” of
information to properly assess how the pilot program is
“This pilot will let us know if we can take
this program to other installations.”
By U.S. Army Capt. Xeriqua Garfinke
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