It's been a busy 2013 and the year has flown by all too fast. As a command, we have done some great things in terms of mission, mission command, Soldier readiness, and working to transform the command into an even greater organization ready and relevant to support the needs of the Army. As a member of this command, you should give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for your hard work and commitment.

Don't let your guard down in 2014 and don't get complacent. We expect greater resource challenges in the short term, and we must all be good stewards of the funds allocated to us as we plan and execute our missions.

With shaping of the force and NCO 2020 focus in sight, I encourage you to use this TY to focus your energy on making sure you are relevant to the fight. Having your professional military education completed will be more necessary than ever before. Being a SSD and PME graduate will clearly signify your readiness for promotion to the next level. In order to attend PME you must be ready physically by meeting the requirements of AR 600-9, AR 350-1, and TC 3-22.20.
Greater changes to the promotion system are on the way, for example, the process for promoting junior Soldiers.

It is imperative that you sharpen your skills while knowing the Army processes of how to make things happen in order to take care of your career. Stay engaged and read all you can to learn about new systems!

We are looking at better ways to support and educate our family members. MG Gerety and Ms. Negron, the family programs coordinator, are working on some great new ways that will improve how we conduct family readiness training. This will enhance how we train and educate families while minimizing the number of events they attend away from home throughout the year. This is great news for our greatest supporters!

The G1 will soon focus on a great initiative that will remove layers of red tape from the way we manage Soldiers' medical issues including WTUs. Individuals undergoing medical issues like profile, MRB, MEB, etc will get quick focused attention and be cleared for work or receive the care they need. This is another great opportunity for the Soldiers of the 80th Training Command.
We have broken the ice by integrating our proponent command sergeants major into being part of the 80th TC operating success. We have invited them all to the table to have them share their concerns and be involved in needed discussions. We'll formally bring them all together every 3-4 months as we ensure their involvement and buy-in into the support of our mission set.

There are many more great initiatives on the horizon. There were also many great accomplishments throughout the 80th TC in 2013. To include, School House of Excellence, SSG Audie Murphy club inductions and the transformation of the 80th TC into the Army's premiere Training Command. Kudos to everyone for a job well done!

Issues I am most concerned about in the near term are the health, safety and well-being of our members. I plead with each of you to understand the importance of safety. Buckle-up when driving, don't drive and text, don't dial and drive, etc. Always exercise safety while on the road whether in an automobile or motorcycle. Alcohol and automobiles do not mix well!

Whatever you do, it is never in your best interest to drive after having alcoholic drinks. I can't stress enough the importance of calling a sober driver or taxi when attending holiday parties and enjoying the spirit of the holidays. Whatever you do please don't let the next celebratory event you attend be your last due to an accident which could have been prevented.

We have energized our Sexual Assault Awareness and Training Program during the course of this year as one of our successes. There were wonderful opportunities to learn and to educate by those who attended and participated in those events. We don't want this training to have been a wasted effort.

I remind you that it is critical to remain postured as a professional military. Have respect for yourself and those around you during this holiday season. Let's reflect upon the initiatives and the things that we have learned during the course of this year and ensure that our Soldiers and civilians are not threatened by enemies of violence and unprofessional behavior. Furthermore, I challenge you to drive this sense of professional pride forward into TY 2014. NO TOLERANCE!

Look around and listen. I know we have members in our ranks struggling this season, whether it is from the loss of a loved one, financial burdens, loss of job, broken relationship, etc. Most of us have suffered or had someone close to us suffer through each of these life issues. It is simply a part of living and the best cure for these issues is to accept them as personal challenges and to drive forward.

I ask our 80th members to please reach out and offer a helping hand to those in need. Put them in contact with the chaplain, a member of their chain of command, medical professionals, financial counselors, etc. Let's not forget that we have an endless listing of programs within the Army Reserve that are available to help our team members in need.

Most importantly, let's open our doors to someone in need during the holidays if they are asking for help. Reach out and take care of our family members! Leave no one behind!
In closing, from my family to yours, I wish you great joy and happiness during this time. May God Bless each and every one of you and your loved ones giving them good health and a plentiful bounty!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!