FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Leadership Kansas members visited the Big Red One for a discussion about the 1st Infantry Division, its services that integrate Soldiers within local communities, and a tour of Fort Riley, Kansas, and its facilities on October 23.
The group is a statewide program designed to enhance and motivate future leaders of Kansas and boasts prominent members from across the state and private sector. Their afternoon began with a briefing held at the division's headquarters.
"We are very excited to have you here to inform and educate you about what goes on here in Central Kansas and what your U.S. Army is up to," said Maj. Gen. John S. Kolasheski, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley. "It also gives us a great opportunity to answer any questions you may have."
Kolasheski went on to introduce attendees to a variety of topics ranging from the division's many engagements globally to its economic impacts and partnerships locally. He was followed by representatives from the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program and the USO's Pathfinder program, which discussed their efforts and friction points in assisting transitioning Soldiers and their spouses in joining the civilian workforce.
After the discussion, Leadership Kansas members were given an opportunity to inquire about specific parts of each program, such as those that help Soldiers and spouses gain certifications and how on-the-job training funded through the military works. Attendees reported a positive experience that afforded them an opportunity to understand what it takes to shape a mutually beneficial future for Kansas and the Soldiers and their Families that live here.
"It takes leadership at the local, state, and national level to ensure that Fort Riley gets the representation, resources, and partnerships to ensure that it completes its mission," said Brenden Wirth, District Administrator for the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Leadership member. "We as leaders need to step up to the challenge to help them with their mission as well."
Wirth went on to highlight the special contribution that military spouses make to the local community and the importance of supporting their successes in tandem with that of the Soldiers. He stressed that, for him, the discussion brought to light the need for leaders at the local, state, and national level to ensure the post receives the support it needs to make its mission.
Following the briefing, attendees boarded a bus and received a guided window tour of the base before landing at the Mission Training Center where they experienced the post's vast array of simulators firsthand. Breaking up into groups, they received virtual experiences in driving and firing tanks, mounted vehicles, and even a bit of rifle marksmanship to end their day.
The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley plans to continue building upon these partnerships and programs with similar events and discussions in the future.