Family issues in focus during SMA visit
May 31, 2013
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- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III
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FORT HOOD, Texas (May 31, 2013) -- When the Sergeant Major of the Army visited Fort Hood May 28-29, he was tasked by the Chief of Staff of the Army with two important missions. He shared Army top-line messages with Soldiers, family members, and Department of Army civilian employees, and took their concerns and his own observations back to Army leaders in the Pentagon.
Luckily, he had someone he can depend on to aid him in completing his task. Working in tandem with Jeanne, his wife of 11 years, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III was able to conduct a more thorough visit than he ever could have accomplished alone.
During their tour, the Chandlers divided areas of focus based upon what each of them knows best.
In addition to readiness, Mrs. Chandler said "one of Ray's responsibilities is quality of life. When we visit a post camp or station, Ray visits the Soldiers. He visits their training sites and does sensing sessions with them. But, there's another component which is just as important ... families and family programs."
Each day while her husband spent time with those in uniform, she made sure to meet with company-level Family Readiness Group, or FRG, volunteers representing units from throughout Fort Hood.
"I can't meet with every family member, but I can try by talking to our FRG leaders to get a sense of their challenges," she said, adding that she also is on the lookout for success stories that will likely be of interest to senior Army leaders.
"I love to see them and visit with them. I love to hear about their experiences as leaders," she continued. "I walk away from every post that we visit thinking that our Army is in great hands."
At each meeting during this visit, there was one reoccurring theme which Mrs. Chandler returned to: Resilience.
"What I would tell every single family member is to take resiliency training if they are able to," said Jeanne. "What resiliency teaches you is a skill set to deal with life's adversity ... and there will be adversity. In a way, that's a lot healthier than shutting your feelings down and bullying your way through a problem."
Chandler also made use of her time on Fort Hood by meeting with members of the Exceptional Family Member Program, and familiarizing herself with the resources available for improving Soldier and family member readiness.
"What Ray and I are both trying to accomplish is to ensure that things are going well for our Soldiers and their families," said Chandler.
The Chandler's closed out their visit with a town-hall meeting held at Howze Auditorium, to which all Soldiers and family members were invited to attend.
The couple spent the last few hours here answering questions about the current state of the Army, listening to suggestions for a better Army from the audience and taking time to recognize some of those who have made a difference at Fort Hood.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," said Mrs. Chandler about being able to support her husband the Army during his tenure as sergeant major of the Army. "We feel so lucky to be able to have these four years to hopefully make a difference for people that are so deserving because of their willingness to defend our country, and for our families who support those defenders."