WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 29, 2014) -- Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell took questions "virtually" from the field for an hour today, on a variety of subjects related to the Soldier for Life campaign.
While Campbell is no stranger to live townhalls with Soldiers and their families, this was his first Facebook version of a town hall, and it allowed him to keyboard his answers from his desk in the Pentagon. It was also the first Soldier for Life town hall on Facebook.
The vice chief opened the online town hall by answering, "What exactly is Soldier for Life?"
"Let me explain," he wrote. "As directed by the chief of staff of the Army, the Soldier for Life program connects Soldiers, retired Soldiers, veterans and families with resources and opportunities both during and post military service. The program strives to change the mindset of Soldiers and veterans to instill, 'Once a Soldier, always a Soldier, a Soldier for Life.'"
Campbell further stated the Soldier for Life program not only ensures Soldiers and family members know they are valued members of the Army team, but also connects them to resources pertaining to employment, education, health and retiree services at national, regional and community levels. Ultimately, Soldier for Life activities are focused to aid Soldiers in success while in service to the nation and as they transition.
Before he had finished his opening remarks, seven questions popped on-screen.
Among those questions were:
Is the Army looking at closing the commissaries to save money?
As the Soldier numbers decrease in Afghanistan what is the Army going to do to help all those Soldiers who will be separating?
Is Soldier for Life reaching out to wounded warriors?
How does the credentialing program work?
The general took the question on the four phases of the Soldier for Life program.
Soldier for Life is in fact about the entire "lifecycle" of being a Soldier; from the moment a Soldier shows up at basic training -- Start Strong; to the day they arrive at their first command and begin their Army career -- Serve Strong; to the moment they make the decision to transition from a uniform-wearing Soldier back into a productive member of civilian society -- Reintegrate Strong; to the final separation or retirement from Army service and transition into an example in their community about what it means to be a Soldier -- Remain strong.
Ten more questions popped up.
"This program not only ensures Soldiers and family members know they are valued members of the Army team, but also connects them to resources pertaining to employment, education, health and retiree services at national, regional and community levels," he wrote.
Campbell next addressed Army Training and Doctrine Command's credentialing programs at Fort Lee, Va. He stated thus far more than 96 credentials had been developed across 46 military occupational skills sets. Credentialing serves as a way to translate a military occupational specialty, known as an MOS, to a civilian counterpart.
He added that the Army was in the process of making a Cyber MOS, which prompted one woman to respond, "General Campbell, sir! So good to see that you're doing this."
The questions that came in, ranged from Survivor Outreach Services, to a new pilot called Career Intermission Pilot Program, to educational and Veterans Administration issues, to efforts being made to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unfortunately, at the end of the town hall, a few questions were left unanswered simply for lack of time.
In a follow-up on his Facebook page, Campbell wrote: "Thanks for participating in our first Facebook town hall dedicated to Soldier for Life. Your questions were insightful and these kinds of forums help us ensure we are sensitive to your concerns. We will respond to any unanswered questions. I look forward to having another virtual town hall in the future."