By Sgt. David NyeNovember 2, 2017
The 36th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville, visited Soldiers on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Oct. 16, 2017, during a battlefield circulation through Army Central Command's Area of Responsibility.
McConville ate a breakfast with selected Soldiers before receiving a briefing from senior leaders and touring storage facilities for strategic equipment while he was on Camp Arifjan.
Soldiers selected to join McConville in the closed-door breakfast were encouraged to ask questions of the Army's second-most senior officer even as they answered questions from him.
McConville asked many of the assembled Soldiers, all of whom were in the ranks of private first class to sergeant, what they would do if they were the vice chief of staff of the Army.
Sergeant Tyler Ferrick, a signal soldier with the 335th Signal Command and native of Fort Polk, Louisiana, told McConville that he would invest heavily in new signals equipment and technology to replace equipment at the end of its life-cycle.
"The Army is changing how we do acquisition," McConville said. "The civilian industry is churning so fast that the Army, which usually has to go through this long process where we write requirements and do studies and write contracts, is stuck with the iPhone 1 when everyone else is carrying the iPhone 4, 5, or even 8."
"We want to get where every Soldier on the battlefield is able to reach into their pocket and pull out something more like this," he continued, pulling out his personal phone.
In response to a comment from Spc. Terry Mack, a Soldier with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 35th Infantry Division, McConville spoke to the group about the importance of leadership and the necessity of staying grounded even as they are promoted up the chain.
He reminded them that no one starts as a four-star general and said that he always reminds himself what it was like when he was starting out in the Army.
"You have to remember what it's like to be a Soldier," he said.
He also reminded them that, while most of the attendees were from the National Guard and Reserve components, it's all one Army.
"The enemy doesn't say, 'Oh, hey, wait a minute. You're National Guard. We'll wait for the Active Duty guys,' or, 'Oh, logisticians, we'll wait for the [infantry] to show up.' They just see Army."
He reminded everyone to concentrate on training and leadership, no matter their component or occupational specialty. He then thanked the Soldiers, all hand-picked representatives of their units, for their time and gave each one the challenge coin of his office.
McConville later received a briefing in Army Central Command headquarters before touring a warehouse where the 401st Army Field Support Brigade maintains the necessary equipment to rapidly equip and deploy multiple brigade combat teams.