VICKSBURG, Miss. - It's not often U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers are able to address questions directly to the chief of the Army Reserve, but some Soldiers recently had that opportunity.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, hosted a town hall with Soldiers of the 412th Theater Engineer Command June 29 at the Vicksburg Convention Center in Vicksburg, Miss.
The Soldiers were given an open forum to ask questions and Talley answered every question asked. The topics of the questions were varied and included budget effects on the Army Reserve, active duty and Reserve partnerships and care of Soldiers.
Before Talley began addressing questions, he framed the forum by discussing the current situations in the Middle East and throughout the world and what that means for the U.S. Armed Forces.
"Things are looking pretty busy for the United States overseas and particularly our need for the Armed Forces to promote peace and deter aggression. What does that have to do with the Army Reserve?"
"What we have to do is make sure we're generating readiness in our formations. Readiness in Soldiers, leaders, units and it starts by looking at yourself," said Talley.
"When you get up in the morning and you look in the mirror: Are you ready? ... Are you physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally balanced as an individual? Are you ready to serve the nation when asked?"
Talley stressed this because he says Soldiers who are out of balance are not able to be effective leaders. He continued to discuss what leadership entails.
"Leadership is about competence, commitment and character. The most important is character," he said. "So if you're individually ready and you've got that leadership balance between competence, character and commitment, then we really want you to impact your unit: to make sure the unit assigned to or the units you may have responsibility for leading or supervising, that they are ready."
Following his emphasis on readiness and leadership, Talley began answering questions addressed to him by Soldiers of the 412th.
While answering questions, Talley stressed the importance of being "Twice the Citizen, Army Strong" and excelling both as an Army Reserve Soldier, in civilian occupations and in Family life.
"As an Army Reserve Soldier, I can't afford for you to be average, you cannot be an average Soldier and you sure can't be an average employee at your civilian place of occupation," said Talley. "I would also argue you better not be an average family member or you may not be a family member much longer."
He then emphasized Soldiers being leaders in their families, communities and workplaces.
"If I get a leader in the family and a leader in the community and a leader in your civilian job, I guarantee you I've got a leader who is in the United States Army."
To assist Soldiers in honing their capabilities and improving their performance at the workplace, the Army Reserve implemented a program in April called the Private Public Partnership Initiative, said Talley.
The program created a partnership with more than 6,000 private sector companies who invest resources in the Army Reserve to make Soldiers more marketable. These companies also provide resources for financial fitness, physical fitness and leadership training.
"I encourage you to find out more about the Private Public Partnership Initiative, let that program help you and your family members become more marketable in the civilian sector as you become more ready as an individual, a Soldier and a leader so you can contribute to your unit," said Talley.
The other hot button issue Talley emphasized during the town hall was Tricare Reserve Select. Talley sees this as a very important program for taking care of Soldiers still in the ranks and encourages Reserve Soldiers to enroll.
Following the town hall, he was presented a 412th TEC t-shirt in appreciation for his time. Additionally, he took the time to recognize three outstanding Soldiers in the 412th with commander's coins.