STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – The Chief of the Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, and the Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Lombardo, engaged with Soldiers from the 353d Civil Affairs Command (CACOM) Headquarters, 407th Civil Affairs Battalion (CA BN), and the 415th CA BN during virtual question and answer sessions held February 6, 2021.
“I don’t think in my whole career I have ever spoken with the Chief of the Army Reserve (CAR),” said Maj. Nadiym Drake, the assistant operations officer for the 353d CACOM. “I think the virtual question and answer sessions was a great opportunity for Lt. Gen. Daniels because it provides her with more in-depth insight of the organization and the down traces in the Reserve, it’s also another opportunity to engage directly with Soldiers.”
“It’s one thing to see a video message that the CAR put out, but it’s another thing to be engaging in a conversation and hear her message directly from her,” Drake added. “She reached close to 1000 Soldiers over multiple locations this morning, just by engaging and having a conversation with them virtually.”
Each unit conducted a question and answer session that started with Daniels and Lombardo giving opening remarks. The session quickly evolved into a chance for the United States Army Reserve leadership team to hear directly from Soldiers within the Army Reserve civil affairs environment.
“This format provided an opportunity for questions to be asked that I had never considered, and hearing the general and command sergeant major insight was informative,” said Spc. Jacob Hinz, a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and assigned to the 407th CA BN.
“I think the variety of questions presented and the genuine seriousness the leadership took with each question stood out to me,” he added. “I thought their answers were honest and made them very relatable to the broader force.”
Throughout all three sessions, Soldiers asked questions to the Army Reserve key leaders about multiple topics such as the Integrated Personnel, Pay System ‐ Army, Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), retention, modernization, and various budget-related items.
“She was driving home a lot about the ACFT and about the pandemic being a hard time for folks,” highlighted Drake, a Brooklyn, New York native. “She emphasized staying ready and staying focus even though we are in a time of social distancing and for some not having any in-person battle assemblies.”
“Some of my key takeaways was that she was pushing to stay on the ball and not slack off,” Drake added. “CSM Lombardo was talking about successful teams and focusing on the corrosive tendencies that need to be eradicated, not just in the Army Reserve but within the military at large.”
The 407th CA BN and the 415th CA BN are two of several battalions that fall within the 353d CACOM footprint. The 353d CACOM is focused on providing our global stakeholders and partners the most professional, agile, capable, and lethal civil affairs Soldiers and units, ready to protect our national interests and deploy, fight, survive, and win our Nation’s wars who also serve as the guardians of freedom and the American way of life.
“I hope we left a positive impression on them,” said Hinz. “I believe the responsibility of any competent leader is to meet their Soldiers at their level and to properly leverage the perspective and knowledge of the Soldiers to accomplish their collective objective.”