CSM visits Soldiers serving in Alaska
March 13, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The senior enlisted member of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command visited Alaska and the command's Soldiers defending the nation during a trip Feb. 25-27.
USASMDC/ARSTRAT Command Sgt. Maj. James N. Ross visited command Soldiers and assets in Alaska to gain insight into what Soldiers in America's northern frontier endure and how the command can support them.
"Most of the issues they discussed with me were mission oriented," Ross said. "I didn't have one single Soldier come up to me and say I have a personal problem, which was great. That is a good sign the unit is doing well."
During his trip, Ross met with leaders at the Alaska Army National Guard headquarters to discuss intersecting lines between SMDC and the National Guard.
Ross then visited with Soldiers assigned to the 49th Missile Defense Battalion to learn about issues they may have.
"One of the things we're very proud of, and it's kind of a unit slogan, is they are the 300 defending 330 million," he added. "Their mission is 365 days a year, seven days a week. They don't get snow days; they don't get any time off; they are there standing watch defending our homeland.
"They are an extremely disciplined unit with an extremely hard mission. You would think because of the really remote location, the really harsh winter environment, the limited daylight hours during the winter months, and all of those challenges, to include resources, the Soldiers would be unmotivated," he added. "There is nothing easy about Fort Greely or being stationed there, but the morale there and attitudes are absolutely unbelievable. Because again, looking at some of the resiliency issues facing our Army, you would expect to see a lot of that at Fort Greely, and I didn't see any of those problems. What I saw was a dedicated, professional group of Soldiers focused on their core tasks and doing it with the right attitudes and a level of professionalism you won't see in every unit."
Ross conveyed to the Soldiers that SMDC leadership supports them as they brave harsh conditions and thanks them for their service.
"When I visited the troops in August, one of the things they asked me was to come back and visit them during the winter season so I can really see what it is like in the cold, austere setting that is Fort Greely," Ross said. "It was cold, but it was nothing like what they are normally used to. Speaking with Lt. Gen. (David L.) Mann (SMDC commanding general) it was 30 below zero when he visited in December. The lowest I saw when I visited was about three below zero so it was not up to usual Fort Greely standards.
"In cold or colder, it is a very important unit to the command and it was really important to get up there and spend some time with them," he added.
During the visit, Ross had sessions with the battalion's noncommissioned officers and Soldiers where they covered Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, the Army profession, resiliency, developmental counseling, Army downsizing, and standards and discipline.
"They are getting ready to transition with a new command sergeant major, and I wanted to get there and continue talking with them about the importance of their mission to the Army, to the homeland and at the same time make sure that I continue to focus on my messaging, which is the Army and NCO profession," Ross said.