By Sgt. 1st Class Naurys MarteJuly 11, 2016
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan-Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis J. Thomas, with the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command, held a town hall meeting with the soldiers of the 518th Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, June 30, 2016 here during his battlefield circulation visit.
Thomas, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Ciearro Faulk with the 518th RSSB, addressed many topics including uniform standards, promotions, structured self-development, using the chain of command to report any type of incidents, and sexual harassment and assault issues.
"Take the opportunity to get caught up now on your SSD, and on your first available chance when you get back home knockout your PME [professional military education], so you can move to the next level," said Thomas.
Soldiers brought up discussions about the uniform standards in view of the new changes which allow soldiers to roll up their sleeves. Thomas reinforced that uniform appearance is a very important indicator of how well soldiers follow the Army standards and how uncorrected uniform appearance can be a lack of leadership.
Even though we may not always agree with some Army standards and policies, we still have to follow them, and as noncommissioned officers we also have to enforce them, said Thomas.
Faulk reinforced the guidance and information Thomas provided and encouraged soldiers to stay resilient and maintain the standard of the Army, especially those that require individual effort such as the physical fitness and the self-development courses required for promotion to the next rank.
"Self-development courses, Army physical fitness training, height and weight; those are soldier's responsibilities-that's not something sergeants major should be reminding you to do," said Faulk. "We are here as senior leaders to make sure you stay focused through advice and professional mentorship and development."
Thomas also addressed how the command handles penalties through Article 15s and courts martial, "if you are caught doing something wrong, you will have the punishment to go with it," said Thomas as he stressed that the command has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault.
"NCO's are about taking care of soldiers," Thomas said. In the Army Reserve, "when you accepted that rank, you accepted that responsibility, you are an NCO 24/7."
"Be active and engaged in unit activities... don't sit around waiting for people to tell you what to do. Take care of soldiers, and make sure they are meeting the standards," said Faulk.
Both sergeants major showed appreciation for their soldiers' work and performance during this deployment so far.
"We appreciate you, and what you do here," said Thomas while acknowledging the sacrifice they, as Army Reserve soldiers, have to make to leave their families and employment behind for their deployment.