JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.- Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, command sergeant major of U.S. Army Medical Command and senior enlisted advisor to the U.S. Army Surgeon General, concluded his two day visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., with an open-forum town hall meeting at French Theater, Feb. 13.
Gragg recently assumed responsibility as MEDCOM's command sergeant major in November, and now serves as senior enlisted advisor to Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, the U.S. Army Surgeon General and MEDCOM commander.
Gragg answered questions from JBLM's 68 series medical professionals about the future of Army medicine and the changes he'd like to see made to the field.
"Knowing better and doing better are two different things," said Gragg. "I need you to change the perception of Army medicine. You are Soldiers who happen to be medically trained, so maintain your Soldiers skills. No one is going to care more about your career than you."
Gragg's visit to JBLM was hosted by Regional Health Command-Pacific and included meetings and office calls with leaders from Madigan Army Medical Center, 62nd Medical Brigade, I Corps, Public Health Activity-Fort Lewis, 593rd Expeditionary Command, and Regional Health Command-Pacific Dental Activity.
"We have to do a better job taking ownership and mentoring our Soldiers," said Sgt. Joshua Servian, a combat medical specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery. "It's most challenging when units have to develop programs to meet the needs of Soldiers."
Gragg also voiced his support for the reintroduction of drill sergeants to the Advanced Individual Training environment.
"If you fix AIT, you fix the discipline problem at the source," said Gragg. "You need to mentor your Soldiers; teach them. When they know you're committed to them, they will commit to you."
The meeting gave Gragg the opportunity to get to know the Soldiers under his command and address individual comments and concerns. He emphasized the importance of professional development and challenged his Soldiers to demonstrate their commitment to service.
"We are a better Army because you serve," said Gragg. "We are a better nation because you sit here right now."