Army Medical Enlisted Corps celebrates 127 years, promotes "Trust"
February 27, 2014
I would like to wish the Medical Enlisted Corps a Happy Birthday! At 127 years old we are one of the oldest corps in the Army Medical Department. On March 1, 1887, the Medical Enlisted Corps was formally established as the Hospital Corps, and with the designation came new chevrons. General Order 29 directed hospital stewards to wear full sized chevrons that had three stripes below and one on top with a red cross in the center. Even prior to this formal recognition, hospital stewards were known to be individuals who were honest and above reproach. Their duties included discipline of staff and patients, personnel management, food service, medical supply and overall administration of the hospital. Our scope of responsibility has obviously expanded over the last 127 years; however, the basic tenets have stood the test of time. I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to serve in the Enlisted Corps, and I thank each and every one of you within our ranks for your willingness to serve our nation where the rubber meets the road. We will celebrate the lineage of the Medical Enlisted Corps across the Southern Regional Medical Command in the coming months with a myriad of events consisting of NCO Induction Ceremonies, Esprit de Corps runs and luncheons. I would also ask that we remember those enlisted Soldiers who came before us and their immeasurable contributions that have enabled us, the Enlisted Corps, to be the envy of every Army in the world.
In October of last year, I attended the Annual Association of the United States Army meeting in Washington D.C. where I participated in the Sergeant Major of the Army's breakout session. The focus of the session was America's Army -- Our Profession. The discussion was primarily focused on Trust, which I believe has played an integral part in our success and longevity as an Enlisted Corps. It is not my intent to provide a philosophical lecture on the topic, but rather to share the SMA's message and reinforce the importance of trust from my own perspective as SRMC's Senior Enlisted leader. The dialogue was straightforward and thought provoking as to how we as leaders earn and, more importantly, keep the trust of the Soldiers, Families and Army civilians we are entrusted to lead through the challenges that lie ahead. The SMA conveyed to the group that trust is the bedrock of our profession; it is the essence of being an effective Soldier and Army civilian. The SMA highlighted the fact that the Army has updated its doctrinal manuals, specifically Army Doctrine Publication 1, and Army Doctrine Reference Publication 1. These capstone documents define and describe the essential characteristics of the Army Profession and how trust is intertwined in those characteristics. I recommend that all Soldiers and Army civilians become familiar with these publications and incorporate them into your leadership development sessions.
There are multiple opportunities within our organizations to create and influence an environment of trust. One area where I see room for improvement is the reception and integration process, this is the first exposure a Soldier or Army civilian has to form an impression about the new organization they are joining. Too often we provide these people with a checklist and a map and send them on their way with minimal guidance and even less follow-up. Your sponsorship program and those selected to be sponsors is another area that should garner some attention. When these programs are well-managed new members of the team naturally begin to trust in their leaders and their new team. How do you know when your programs are effective? When your new personnel start out believing the organization they joined is the best organization in the Army. It is not enough to talk about trust; we must set the example through our actions. These two processes provide immediate opportunities to highlight our Compassion, Care and Commitment with Trust as the underpinning. Senior noncommissioned officers are excellent managers of these two essential programs and so I ask each of you to evaluate the effectiveness of your Reception and Integration and Sponsorship programs to ensure they are conveying the message you desire while instilling trust throughout your organizations.
Compassion -- Care -- Commitment
Serving To Heal…Honored To Serve
Jayme D. Johnson
Command Sergeant Major