ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) for Training, Readiness and Mobilization came to First Army's headquarters here today to learn more about the command's Army National Guard and Reserve training mission.

"It's important for me…to keep an eye on a lot of the reserve component issues," said Raymond F. Rees, a retired Army National Guard major general who has served as the Oregon Adjutant General, director of the Army National Guard, vice chief and acting chief of the National Guard Bureau, and chief of staff of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

First Army officials gave Rees a series of briefings, including overviews of Army Total Force Policy, First Army's "Bold Shift" initiative, Veterans Opportunity to Work and the Transition Assistance Program. Col. William S. Schafer, First Army chief of staff and Col. Dale C. Kuehl, First Army deputy chief of staff of operations, training, and planning, led the briefings.

Rees also learned about the First Army Academy at Camp Shelby, Miss., where observer, controller/trainer, counter-IED and other certification courses are conducted for First Army trainers. The academy supports 24 classes and 1,800 students annually.

Rees said the briefings were "very valuable" to him.

"It tells me what's going on here at First Army," he said. "I'm looking forward to working closely with you, and I appreciate everything you're doing."

First Army mobilizes, trains, deploys and demobilizes all Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve forces throughout the continental United States, providing trained and ready forces for diverse missions worldwide. First Army is comprised of two divisions: First Army Division East, located at Fort Meade, Md., and First Army Division West, located at Fort Hood, Texas.