WIESBADEN, Germany (July 3, 2014) -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Ray Chandler and his wife Jeanne met with Soldiers, families and senior leaders to discuss key issues throughout the U.S. Army Europe community, during a visit to Germany, Monday through today.

They were greeted the first morning by USAREUR Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Richard Longo, and then accompanied to locations around Germany by some of USAREUR's senior non-commissioned officer leadership, including Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, USAREUR senior enlisted adviser.

The intent of Chandler's visit was to reiterate the Army's priorities, such as adhering to the Army values, the tenets of the Profession of Arms campaign, and ensuring an effective drawdown of the force over the next few years. In addition, he made time to meet with Soldiers to answer their questions and take their concerns back to the Pentagon and the Army's top leaders.

During engagements with some of the command's top sergeants major, he discussed the strategic role played by USAREUR, its partner nations and the Army's commitment to regionally-aligned forces.

"If you look at what we're currently doing in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, you can see the importance of USAREUR and its strategic influence," Chandler said, noting the international connections, military capabilities, and training resources located here. "I think that it's extremely important, and will be for as long as we have an Army."

One of those capabilities is the Gen. John Shalikashvili Mission Command Center, where he visited the Current Operations Integration Cell floor and observed the monitoring of current theater operations across the theater.

There, and at each other location, Chandler took time to ask Soldiers about their concerns, and asked their leaders how recent Army-wide challenges have affected the readiness and quality of life of Soldiers and their families.

At each of these venues, including Vilseck, Clay Kaserne, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and others, all in Germany, his message to all also focused in some way on the three tenets of the Army profession: competence, character and commitment.

During a town hall meeting with more than 600 Soldiers at Katterbach Kaserne, Germany, he explained the importance of each of them.

"Being an Army professional is more than just doing your job well," he said. "You can't be a professional if you are not willing to also be a person of character and commitment. Competence is important, but it is only as important as character and commitment."

He said suicide and sexual harassment are two of the Army's current challenges that can be addressed through commitment to fellow Soldiers.

"If each of you looks out for your battle buddy -- whether they are exhibiting some changes in their behavior or if they are in a situation that puts them at risk for sexual assault -- and if they do the same for you, we can significantly reduce both of these incidents in the Army," Chandler said. "It only takes commitment to each other."

By maintaining a focus on all three components of the profession, Chandler said there would likely also be a place for Soldiers, even as the Army continues its drawdown.

"If you continue to do your best and continue to better yourself -- and continue to show your leaders that your know how to accomplish the mission and look out for your fellow Soldiers -- there will be a place for your in the Army. However, the Army might ask you to do something different than what you are doing now," he said, adding that improving your General Technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery increases Soldiers' options.

Chandler ended his visit by wishing Soldiers, families and civilian employees a great Independence Day weekend, and reminding them that for 239 years Soldiers, like those currently serving in USAREUR, have served at home and around the world to keep the nation strong.