Less than a week on the job as Command Sergeant Major for U.S. Army Medical Command, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg visited Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Nov. 8-10, as he reaches out to the Soldiers of Army Medicine.

During a U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Campbell Non-Commissioned Officer Induction Ceremony, Gragg shared some advice and expectations for Soldiers in Army Medicine.

His first message was for Soldiers to compete every day, but not with each other.

"Compete against the standard because if we all compete against the standard and we all surpass the standard then that means we can raise the standard. Then we continually and habitually make ourselves better by surpassing the standard," said Gragg. He explained that today Soldiers can easily outpace their peers and still not meet the standard. "So compete against the standard and not with each other."

Second, Gragg said as Soldiers it's important to be present -- not just in the sense of being where you are supposed to be physically -- but by adding value and being engaged, "Don't try to multi-task when engaging people. Put the phone away. Give that person your attention. Also, when somebody is in the middle of typing or talking, and (you need their attention) let them finish, therefore they can then focus on you." Gragg explained that communication breaks down when people are distracted so give people your full attention.

Third, Gragg spoke of the importance of maintaining a professional appearance as outlined in Army regulation.

"Your competence is often judged by your appearance. If you don't look the part, doors and ears will be closed to you before you even get a chance to speak," said Gragg, "I know not everyone is a physical training monster, but there are other ways to control weight. You can either do push-ups or push-aways -- push-away from the table."

Lastly, Gragg said training should always be a focus in the Army. It's important to keep Soldiers fully trained because sending an untrained Soldier into battle is like committing murder, said Gragg. "I used that as a mantra every day to ensure the Soldiers we are producing are trained."
Gragg, who joined the Army in 1989, assumed responsibility as MEDCOM's top enlisted Soldier Nov. 3. His previous assignment was Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, Fort Eustis, Virginia.

His visit on post included Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, 101st Airborne Division Headquarters, the 86th Combat Support Hospital, and the Alfred V. Rascon School of Combat Medicine. Additionally, Gragg conducted several town-hall sessions on post to speak with Soldiers and civilians of Army Medicine and hear their thoughts.

"It really meant a lot to me to have Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg from MEDCOM come here, Command Sgt. Maj. Earle, from Brigade level, because this is an important moment in our careers," said Sgt. Bryant Bentley, an 86th Combat Support Hospital "Eagle Medics" Soldier who was inducted into the NCO ranks. "I really liked what Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg said and I look forward to helping my Soldiers come to NCO Induction and make it to this point."