ARLINGTON, Va. (Aug. 20, 2014) -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III emphasized professionalism during a visit with enlisted Soldiers assigned to the Army National Guard Readiness Center here, and surrounding installations, Friday.

During his visit, which was a first by a sitting sergeant major of the Army, Chandler spoke candidly to the non-commissioned officers about the Army profession.

For Chandler, trust between Soldiers, which is enabled by having character, commitment and competence, is the bedrock of the Army profession. Chandler spoke briefly about having the ability to display and measure competence, and asked Soldiers to consider character and commitment, citing the Army Values and the Warrior Ethos as measures of character.

"You and I have a shared set of values," Chandler said. "The Army Values are what binds us together. A Warrior Ethos is what binds us together. It doesn't matter what component we're in. What matters is we all have a common sense of beliefs and values."

Chandler spoke about the commitment Soldiers have to the nation, noting the importance of upholding the force to a higher standard.

"We as non-commissioned officers cannot tolerate mediocrity in the force. ... I believe as a non-commissioned officer, if we don't know what we're supposed to do, we should have the intestinal fortitude to ask somebody for help."

Chandler answered questions from Soldiers on topics ranging from readiness, to the changes in the Army's regulation on grooming and appearance.

"I'm excited the National Guard was able to host the sergeant major of the Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk Conley, the sergeant major of the Army Guard. "Having Sgt. Maj. Chandler address Soldiers today was a great opportunity for Soldiers assigned here to discuss issues and concerns with him."

In an interview after his town hall meeting with troops, Chandler recognized the challenges Guard members face serving as citizen-Soldiers.

"When we ask citizens to become Soldiers -- and to be Soldiers not only for things that happen within the homeland but to leave their families, their businesses and their jobs -- to go and fight and win our nation's wars, or go and help a country with developing their own internal capacity, that takes a lot. It takes a tremendous amount of not only courage but sacrifice to do that."