Army's top NCO visits Vicenza
December 15, 2011
VICENZA, Italy -- One Facebook post from the Army's top non-commissioned officer garnered more than 1,200 comments, which led to further discussions about future changes in the Army.
This posting is relevant because it highlights when the Army's senior noncommissioned officer speaks, people listen and participate in the discussion.
For the past nine months, Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) Raymond F. Chandler III and his wife, Jeanne, have traveled to different installations worldwide to gather information to improve Army current policies and programs.
During the Chandlers' visit here, they met with U.S. Army Africa's senior leadership, visited with 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Soldiers, had lunch with Vicenza Community Club members, and met with Vicenza Military Community Soldiers and Family members.
Additionally, the SMA and his wife toured the Warrior Transition Unit, followed by touring the Vicenza Health Clinic (VHC).
"It was such a great opportunity for our health clinic staff to meet with the Sgt. Major of the Army," said Col. Daniel Gall, VHC commander. "He and his spouse spent an hour and a half visiting each unit and making a point to speak to each staff member."
Chandler, the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army, took the stage Dec. 14 to a standing-room-only Town Hall meeting at the Caserma Ederle Post Theater. He addressed those gathered and listened to the thoughts and opinions of Soldiers and their Families.
"Your voice counts. Give me an opportunity to help you make a difference," Chandler said to the audience.
Chandler explained to Soldiers and family members in attendance he will take their questions and concerns back to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff so key leaders can shape policy and program decisions. He stressed it is important everyone ask questions so they can have an impact on the final decisions.
"What they have to say and who they are is important," Chandler said, reiterating the importance of listening to the Soldiers.
Before answering any questions, Chandler spoke to the audience of his commitment to reinforce professionalism in the Army. He made sure to address hot topics like reenlistment, Army downsizing, overweight Soldiers, shorter deployments and new regulations on physical appearance.
"This is about 'going after it' as an Army. This is about taking action," Chandler said. "I'm passionate about this because it's a reflection of us."
Some of the concerns expressed from the audience were reenlistment, command sponsorship, the balance between Families and the military as well as retirement benefits. Chandler answered each question to the best of his knowledge, ensuring the audience was well informed of what is to come in the future.
"He is very informative," said Sgt. Amelia Trueblood, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, Vicenza. "He brought to life many of the questions we had."
Following the Sergeant Major of the Army's visit, he traveled to Africa. He was escorted by U.S. Army Africa's top enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes. There, they visited with members stationed at Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.