By Sgt. William BegleyAugust 4, 2014
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - The command team from 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade hosted a series of town hall meetings which engaged all subordinate units in the brigade July 25-29 on Hunter Army Airfield.
A total of six town hall meetings were conducted during the five-day period which gave Soldiers from each battalion in the brigade a chance to speak freely about any problems they were having in an open forum. The meetings were two hours in length, which gave the Falcon Brigade Soldiers a 12 hour window to voice their concerns.
The origins of the town hall meeting-according to open sources-date back to the 17th century in which most or all the members of a community came together to legislate policy and budgets for local government. More recently, commanders use this tool to address Soldiers in a less formal environment.
Brigade commander, Col. John D. Kline said his intent was to foster a command climate where Soldiers are not afraid to approach their leadership when they are frustrated, and are confident their leaders will do their absolute best to gain resolution.
"As leaders, we owe it to our Soldiers to listen to their concerns and provide candid answers," said Kline. "Both Soldiers and leaders learn from these exchanges. It helps reinforce trust within our ranks and demonstrates our resolve to make the organization better."
According to Command Sgt. Maj. James P. Snyder, command sergeant major, 3rd CAB, the idea came about after 56 hours of sensing sessions where it became clear that a dialogue with the Soldiers was necessary. It was then he and the commander started to talk about the best way to get ideas and information to the Soldiers. The town hall idea was deemed the best course of action to start the conversation.
"During the course of the evaluating command climate surveys, the consistent theme was surveys can be difficult to ascertain real quality information," said Snyder. "So we went directly to the Soldiers so their voices could be heard."
One of the junior enlisted Soldiers in attendance was Spc. Angel Jackson, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. Jackson spoke about how she viewed leadership, and her opinion on how a newly pinned sergeant should conduct themselves.
"When somebody pins on the sergeant rank, they should live up to those responsibilities," said Jackson. That expectation was echoed by others.
Kline spoke to the Soldiers on topics ranging from training and sexual harassment, to the current drawdown and how it affects the operational tempo. Kline also spoke about character and trust.
"Adherence to Army values and adherence to having good integrity and solid character is a must," said Kline.
And while Kline admitted that the effectiveness of town hall meetings is hard to capture as a metric, he is optimistic about the future of the brigade.
"I'm confident that any time you can have a productive exchange of information between leaders and led, it's healthy for the organization," said Kline. "I'm optimistic that results will be positive over time."