With the Army Reserve being such a sizeable element of our nation's military, it is important that leaders engage with their subordinate units. The 8-100th (Health Services) Battalion, 5th (HS) Brigade, 94th Training Division-Force Sustainment (94th TD-FS) took part in a Virtual Battlefield Circulation conference call with the Chief of the Army Reserve (CAR), Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels on November 7, 2020.
For Sgt. 1st Class Ernestine Smith, assigned as the 8-100th (HS) BN human resources noncommissioned officer in charge, the conference call was her first interaction with a commanding general of this nature, including the discussion and guidance of current U.S. Army Reserve initiatives, the need for junior NCOs, instructor strength, and professional military education.
Smith provided insight about her overall experience of the virtual call with Daniels and the importance of senior leader presence. "With Lt. Gen. Daniels busy schedule, it was refreshing that she conducts virtual individual battalion visits," said Smith. "It is key for commanders to have a thorough relationship with each of their subordinate units."
"It's vital that commanders provide clear guidance and expectations by knowing and understanding subordinate units' capabilities," said Smith. "These efforts to support and assist subordinate commands will aid with meeting mission requirements."
For the Soldier of 30 years, Smith feels that the Army has a need for health care specialists. She also believes that Soldiers in the medical field are mission essential and that her battalion plays a significant role in training medical Soldiers and NCOs. "Lt. Gen. Daniels displayed her vested interest in the Army Reserve and the mission of the 8-100th (HS) BN," said Smith. "We need to continue to train and be ready for any mission."
The 8-100th (HS) BN executive officer, Maj. James Person also attended the virtual CAR conference call. Although Person has heard from three- and four-star generals in senior leader positions throughout his military career, he admits Daniels' interaction was different.
"I've never conversed in such an intimate setting as what Lt. Gen. Daniels has done with the virtual visit," said Person. "I'm glad my unit had the opportunity to dialogue with not just any senior leader, but our newest Chief of the Army Reserve!"
For Person, the 8-100th (HS) BN Soldiers were able to ask questions about the Army Reserve initiatives and hear Daniels' responses directly for her mission priorities. "During the virtual call, Lt. Gen. Daniels gave insight about her mission priorities (people first, operational tempo reduction, NCO retention, and mitigating challenges) as it relates to the larger scope of Army Reserve readiness," said Person.
"Lt. Gen. Daniels is ensuring we know how important she considers us by taking time to engage at our level and inquire about our unit concerns," said Person. "She is listening and helping us remove our obstacles while shaping our ability to execute her vision fully."
Person feels that Daniels has a grasp on the hurdles facing the Army Reserve. "The people-first focus of Lt. Gen. Daniels' vision will build up Soldiers while resolving the challenges she is attempting to get after," said Person.