FORSCOM CG discusses TBI, leadership, service, with "America's Team"
August 15, 2012
- Leader of Army's largest command talks leadership with "America's Team"
- Army, NFL TBI collaboration a topic of discussion as Gen. Rodriguez addresses NFL team
OXNARD, Calif. (Aug. 15, 2012) -- The leader of the Army's largest command shared a message about service, sacrifice and leadership with one of professional football's most storied organizations during team training camp activities, here.
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commanding general, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), spoke to about 130 players, coaches and staff members of the National Football League's (NFL) Dallas Cowboys during the morning meeting held just before the team hit the practice field for individual and team drills in preparation for the coming 2012 season.
While his remarks were mostly about building and leading a winning team, he led off the session by thanking the team for supporting Soldiers and bringing focus to the NFL and U.S. Army's cooperation, coordination and collaboration on combating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
"I want to thank you -- the Dallas Cowboys and the whole organization, for all you do for our American Soldiers at home and deployed around the world," Rodriguez said. "And, I'd also like to thank you for supporting the NFL and the Army joint program to make the nation more aware of the problems associated with head injury -- whether on the football field or on the battlefield, and to reduce the negative stigma often associated with seeking treatment for it."
"We all have more work to do," he continued. "But, I can see the same principles you all believe in are the same things we believe in, and as a team we can make a positive impact."
For the next 30 minutes Rodriguez talked about Soldiers, and being a member or leader of a team, citing the heroic actions of Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, and other Soldiers who took selfless action under fire.
He also reminded the team of the importance of serving the nation and being part of something greater than one's self.
"Service to the nation is not limited to the position you hold, an office you occupy or an organization of which you are a member," he said. "Service to the nation is a sense of belonging -- an aspiration to help -- a desire to make your community, town, state or country better."
"When we do this, we not only create a better community and nation, we become a member of a team larger than the Dallas Cowboys or America's Army," he concluded.
Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett, normally does the lion's share of speaking at team meetings, but said it was very effective having a speaker who could address the team's ongoing themes from a non-football perspective.
Garrett said that as a football coach he had always heard the analogy that football players and teams were going into battle against the other team, but that Rodriguez and the Soldiers he led had gone in to real battle, and the players could really learn something from him.
"He was off the charts," Garrett said. I think our players were very impressed. He gave a presentation, then guys asked questions -- he took over the room and was remarkably good, and it was emotional for some of our players."
After the meeting, Rodriguez and several members of the FORSCOM staff watched some of the team's practice drills and interacted with some of the players before departing for the next stops on the itinerary - training, operations and command updates at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., and with I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.