Nation's top NCO visits Alaska Soldiers
February 1, 2013
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska (Feb. 1, 2013) -- Marine Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the most senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. armed forces, met with Soldiers of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Jan. 29, in a town hall forum.
Battaglia discussed Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey's top four priorities: achieving our national objectives in current conflicts, developing Joint Force 2020, keeping faith with our military family and renewing the commitment to the profession of arms.
"After every major conflict we got though a downsize," Battaglia said. "We are going though that same thing now. It's not the first time."
Battaglia described Joint Force 2020 as the readjustment, reset, refit, rebuild and reestablishment of the armed forces.
"We are going to be smaller, we are going to be leaner, but we are going to be able to defend our homeland in a foreign land," Battaglia said. "That's why we're here. That's why we serve."
Battaglia drew from a personal experience to explain what the concept of "keeping faith with our military family" means to him.
"[I was] born and raised in New Orleans and I was deployed in 2005 when Katrina hit," he said. "I was really worried that my family, who I had no contact with, was dead, relocated or homeless -- I had no idea."
"But then I finally realized, my government is going to look out for them," Battaglia said,
"I just know they are."
He said that the U.S. armed forces will honor its commitment to take care of its troops and their families despite the drawdown and budget cuts.
Leaner budgets will have an effect on the way training is conducted, according to Battaglia, but the quality of training will not change.
"We may have to get a little innovative with our training," he said. "You may not see as much ammo being distributed out in the field. You may see more MILES gear (the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, which uses lasers and blank cartridges to simulate weapons fire).
"I remember going to the field as an infantry guy myself and we didn't have any money," Battaglia said. "We went to the field every week-practicing our tactics."
He said each Marine was issued one box of ammo for a whole week -- just 10 rounds for a seven-day training exercise.
They improvised their own gunshot noises and when that failed to defeat their mock enemies, they threw rocks -- and then made the sounds.
The audience erupted in laughter as Battaglia acted out the scene.
"Butter-butter-butter-jam," he said, pretending to shoot his target.
At the end of the brief Battaglia presented coins to several Soldiers before continuing on his tour of military installations across the 49th state.