• Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, speaks to battalion commanders and command sergeants major during a luncheon at Fort Hood's Club Hood June 23. Bills discussed his top priorities with the group. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angel Turner, 1st Cav. Div. PAO) (Released)

    First Team commander engages command teams

    Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, speaks to battalion commanders and command sergeants major during a luncheon at Fort Hood's Club Hood June 23. Bills discussed his top priorities with the group. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Ricardo Luera, senior enlisted adviser of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes notes during a luncheon with the division's commanding general at Fort Hood's Club Hood June 23. Luera and other command sergeants major and battalion commanders met with Brig. Gen. Michael Bills to discuss ways to improve the overall unit and Soldier readiness. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angel Turner, 1st Cav. Div. PAO) (Released)

    First Team commander engages command teams

    Command Sgt. Maj. Ricardo Luera, senior enlisted adviser of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes notes during a luncheon with the division's commanding general at Fort Hood's Club Hood June 23. Luera...

  • Lt. Col. Kurt Ritterpusch, the 1st Cavalry Division's provost marshal speaks to battalion command teams throughout the division during a luncheon with the division's commanding general at Fort Hood's Club Hood June 23. Leaders heard Brig. Gen. Michael Bills' top priorities and pending changes in the unit to help meet those priorities. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angel Turner, 1st Cav. Div. PAO) (Released)

    First Team commander engages command teams

    Lt. Col. Kurt Ritterpusch, the 1st Cavalry Division's provost marshal speaks to battalion command teams throughout the division during a luncheon with the division's commanding general at Fort Hood's Club Hood June 23. Leaders heard Brig. Gen. Michael...

FORT HOOD, Texas - The 1st Cavalry Division commander hosted a luncheon with the battalion command teams throughout the division at Club Hood June 23 to discuss his top priorities.

Division Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Bills said he met with the commanders and command sergeants major as a way to provide guidance and to see how things are going in the various battalion formations.

Bills spoke of his priorities, as well as reiterating III Corps and U.S. Army Forces Command priorities. One of the priorities Bills discussed during the meeting was unit sponsorship.

Changes to the unit sponsorship program are intended to provide a better relationship between leaders, incoming personnel and the unit, Bills said.

"We need to ensure we are establishing contact with all incoming personnel," Bills said to the command teams. "When we properly welcome new Soldiers, we're providing them a smooth transition to Fort Hood."

Bills noted that Soldiers receive their overall impression of the unit within their first week assigned to it.

The sponsorship program requires units to appoint a sponsor to all incoming personnel. Aside from helping integrate the new Soldiers to the unit, the sponsors will have to complete training to ensure they know what the do's and don'ts of the program are.

Other topics discussed during the luncheon included Soldiers' medical readiness, proper maintenance management of the unit's property, and enhancing the unit's overall physical fitness program.

The overall theme of the luncheon focused on unit and Soldier readiness - down to Soldiers' behavior on and off duty.

"Changes to the way we monitor Soldiers' behavior is very important," said Lt. Col. Kurt Ritterpusch, the division provost marshal. "That requires commanders to be involved and engaged, maybe a lot more than they've had to in the last 10 years."

Ritterpusch said training focus has shifted from getting ready to go to war to training to maintain readiness to go to war.

"The standards have to elevate a lot higher to maintain a long-term level of readiness rather than a readiness that peaks right before you go to war," he said.

Currently, the division has Soldiers deployed to various places around the world to include Afghanistan, Korea and the Sinai Peninsula. Leaders discussed the importance of their Soldier's physical and mental readiness, and how to ensure any issues do not go overlooked in their formations in that regard.

"I think the topics are certainly nested with overall readiness, whether you're in a unit that's going forward or a unit that's staying here," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Velishka, commander of 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Cav. Div.

Velishka said the luncheon provided valuable information to command teams on ways to handle different issues within their units.

"The meeting allowed us to receive guidance and solutions at the same time," he said.

This was the first luncheon Bills has had with all of the battalion command teams in the division. Although he is headed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, he said he will continue the meetings from afar in order to continue providing guidance and mentorship first hand.

Page last updated Mon June 30th, 2014 at 12:19