ROSE BARRACKS, Germany - Given the chance to have lunch with anyone in the world -- who would it be with? Hard question.
The weight of that decision is matched only with another equally challenging question -- what would you talk about?
The answer to those questions vary person to person, but on April 20, 2017 Soldiers assigned to 2d Cavalry Regiment were given the chance to ask questions to the 15th Sergeant Major of the Army, Daniel Dailey about what changes are coming to Army equipment modernization, training, schools and promotions.
Sitting down to a meal of fresh steamed fish and rice, prepared earlier by Pvt. Therese Provido, at the Stryker Inn Dining Facility at Rose Barracks, Germany, SMA Dailey joined Provido and 2CR Soldiers for lunch.
Nearly 20 Soldiers from across the regiment were given the opportunity to dine with the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Army -- and they ate it up. But first, SMA Dailey was asking the questions.
In the casual dining facility, Dailey went around the table, in-between bites, asking each Solider their name, where they are from and what they do. Sharing last, Dailey spoke briefly of his own story.
"It was all coal mine, moonshine and move on down the line," said Dailey, referring to his hometown in Palmerton, PA.
Somewhere in-between uttering moonshine, joking about the fender bender earlier in the day that pushed the lunch back 30 minutes and paying compliments to the chef with a long-low "Mmmmm" after taking his first bite of chow; Dailey had put the table of junior enlisted Soldiers completely at ease.
After a few shared laughs, Soldiers spoke freely and asked the questions they had undoubtedly prepared to deliver at just the right moment.
That moment was now.
Spc. Milena Bubnjevic, an automotive logistical specialist assigned to maintenance platoon, Forward Support Troop, 3rd Squadron, wanted to know how to push her packet for Ranger school forward.
Following the first females to complete the task in 2015, as part of the Army's gender-integrated assessment, Bubnjevic too wants to attend the competitive school. However, she was unsure how to secure her spot in the course as the transition of women into previously male-only courses and female combat roles continue to take shape Army wide.
His question for her was, "Are you ready?"
For another junior enlisted Soldier, his question was geared toward what the future of Soldier armor will look like with a hopeful reference to robotic armor.
"We won't have an Army Iron Man anytime soon, if that's what you're asking," said Dailey. "But the development of lighter and stronger armor is on the way."
As a cavalry regiment with history dating back to 1836, 2CR has seen many changes in the way they operate from Dragoons on horseback to an armored unit and to the Strykerized formation today. What the next maneuver vehicle for the storied regiment will look like was the next question of the day.
"Updating is a priority," said Dailey, adding that the first updated Stryker interim armored vehicle has already started to arrive.
Along with modernizing equipment, Dailey answered questions on updates to rotational training such as those that take place at Combined Training Centers as well as the multinational training here.
"Big changes are coming. We are shifting focus to the high intensity conflict and combined armed forces maneuver - not just unconventional warfare training that we've focused on in the past."
Changes to rotations aren't the only thing that Soldiers can look forward to. Improvements to the promotion system are in the works with a new "up or out" approach. The current push to increase troop size and the demand to fill active duty slots across the force is playing a part in that paradigm shift too, according to Dailey.
Around the table, Soldier questions kept coming. But, it was one Soldier who wanted to glean something more personal from the top enlisted Soldier in the Army.
"What keeps you going?"
"You have to love this," said Dailey.
As a call that less than one percent of the American population chooses to answer, serving in the United States Army is a job, however unconventional, as it may seem, explained Dailey.
"In what other job do they feed you three meals a day and pay you to workout and shoot weapons?"
For Dailey, what gets him up in the morning is knowing that someone has to do this job.
"We will always have an Army. Service is a choice - but having an Army is a requirement."
Dailey decided that the person for the job was him and he encouraged each Soldier at the table to perform each task that they are given to the best of their ability.
"If you're going to be here -- do your best. I don't care if you fail. I care if you quit."
To the rest of the chow hall, nothing unusual had taken place in the far corner of the dining facility, it appeared as another typical day. Soldiers sitting together, talking and eating -- two acts that have bonded troops for years.
"I could have been anywhere in the world today, but I'm glad I'm here eating lunch with you," said Dailey.