FORT BRAGG, N.C. - With less than two months before completing his tenure as the U.S. Army's top enlisted Soldier, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III made a stop at Fort Bragg, N.C., Dec. 3, and hosted a town hall meeting with Soldiers and family members at the post's All-American Chapel.
Over the past four years, Chandler has visited Soldiers stationed around the world talking to them about issues that affect them. He advises Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno on all enlisted matters, mainly areas dealing with training and quality of life for Soldiers.
Fourteenth Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III hosted a long anticipated enlisted town hall with the forces of Fort Bragg on December 3, 2014. Top on the agenda of discussion was the future of the Army and the future of the force in an increasingly uncertain fiscal and geopolitical landscape. Chandler stressed that the fundamentals of NCO 2020 and basic engaged leadership at all levels is the key to a successful, healthy force ready for any challenge. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Crail)
Throughout the interactive session, Chandler called upon several Soldiers to contribute to the discussion and assist him in driving home the message that Soldiers are professionals who must look out for one another.
After thanking the Soldiers and family members on behalf of the secretary and chief of staff, Chandler asked a young Soldier to come up and discuss the Army Ethos and Army Values. When she hesitated, he gave her cues to help her out. It was one of many teaching moments for the young enlisted leaders in attendance.
"I'm being your battle buddy right now," Chandler said. "You had forgotten and I'm there to help. And when I am in trouble you're going to help me. That is a big part of who we say we are as Soldiers. We look out for one another."
The discussion on Army Values segued into sexual assault prevention as Chandler pointed out that Soldiers need to do a better job living those values.
"We don't know our professional obligation as well as we should when it comes to two things: sexual assault and suicide," he said. "Because those are challenges we can solve amongst ourselves. It's an Army problem."
The discussion seemed to have impacted several Soldiers in attendance. Many spoke of the positive changes in the Army and the commitment of leaders to hold perpetrators accountable. Spc. Jessica Solano, a network operator from 50th Signal Brigade, said she was pleased with Chandler's aggressive stance on sexual assault prevention and hopes leaders and Soldiers will be more effective in dealing with sexual assault cases.
"I think he definitely touched base on things that are close to me," Solano said. "I think things are going in the right direction. It doesn't matter where you're from, your sex, your age, your rank. Anybody can do it and anybody can be a victim of it."
Solano said she was also pleased with the steps the Army is taking to prevent suicides since she has a friend, a fellow Soldier, who is struggling with severe depression.
"Our profession demands that we look out for one another," Chandler said. "We can make a difference. We just have to decide we're going to be what we say that we are -- professional United States Army Soldiers."
Following the discussion, Chandler took several questions from the audience focused on sexual assault and suicide prevention, family advocacy, and promotions.
Soldiers and family members had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Chandler, before he left for his flight back to the Pentagon with their concerns.
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot
Provided through DVIDS
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