SMA visits Natick on 9/11 anniversary

By Bob Reinert/USAG-Natick Public AffairsSeptember 12, 2014

Physical Demands Study
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Shaun Morand demonstrates a task in the Physical Demands Study for Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III. The study partners TRADOC and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine to determine what standards are ne... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
High Performance Fiber
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 11, 2014) -- On the 13th anniversary of a day etched in the nation's collective memory, the Army's highest-ranking non-commissioned officer visited the Natick Soldier Systems Center, or NSSC.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III began the day by participating in NSSC's Patriot Day Ceremony, which recalled the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"This is a day that we should recognize and remember," Chandler said at a town hall later in the day. "What we do today and over the last 13 years has been predicated on events that happened (on 9/11)."

Chandler pointed out that he had joined the Army 34 years ago.

"But it's a different circumstance than you that have chosen to join after 9/11," Chandler said. "You make up one percent of the American population. You're the top one percent. You've chosen to do something that 99 percent of the American people are either unwilling or unable to do."

After attending the ceremony, Chandler toured Natick's unique facilities and learned more about research underway around the installation. He heard about the Physical Demands Study, which will determine the physical requirements for combat-related jobs; received a combat rations overview; visited the High Performance Fiber Facility and the Thermal Test Facility; and was briefed on operational energy and base camp technologies.

During demonstrations related to the Physical Demands Study, Chandler told Soldiers from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine how important their work was.

"What you're doing now is going to make a difference in what we do for physical training," Chandler said. "You're making history for the Army, because out of this will come change. I'm excited about what you're doing."

Chandler added that the study was helping to bring about "transformational changes in the Army."

Following lunch with Natick Soldiers, Chandler held his town hall, in which he spoke about the "plague" of sexual assault and suicide on the Army that "we, as Soldiers and civilians, can solve."

Before departing from Natick, Chandler took a moment to talk about what he had seen during his visit, including "capabilities that I had no idea the Army even had. The ability to take a polymer and turn it into a material that could be developed to lighten the Soldier's load or provide them better comfort in extreme weather -- to me, that was one of the most impressive things I saw today."

Chandler, a Massachusetts native, said it took him three and a half years to get to Natick as sergeant major of the Army.

"But now that I have seen it, I think there's a phenomenal group of people who are really trying to help our Army get better," said Chandler, "and it was really impressive."

Related Links:

Sergeant Major of The Army Raymond Chandler III Science and Technology

Natick Soldier Systems Center

Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center

U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine