Leaders and Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart welcomed the Army’s top military officials during a visit March 7. Gen. James McConville, the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston, the Army’s 16th top enlisted advisor, traveled to the heart of the Lowcountry to receive an update on 3rd ID’s quality of life programs and investments for Soldiers, modernization, and innovation efforts, and to engage with and recognize Soldiers.
During nearly every stop of the trip, McConville and Grinston took time to speak with Soldiers and express their pride in serving alongside them.
“We have the world’s greatest Soldiers, and that makes us the world’s greatest Army,” McConville said. “You can be anything you want to be in the United States Army. In fact, you can ‘Be All You Can Be.’"
McConville and Grinston are no strangers to Fort Stewart, having visited when 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, rapidly deployed with a week’s notice to Europe last year. This time, they heard candid feedback from Soldiers on a variety of topics from barracks life and readiness, to training and Army policy.
Over the past year Fort Stewart and 3rd ID leaders have taken a whole of community approach to remediate barracks rooms affected by mold. The Army’s senior leaders were shown a recently renovated barracks room and unoccupied rooms affected by mold and provided with an update on future barracks investments.
Currently, one Voluntary Army, or VOLAR, barracks building has been renovated to meet the Army standard with five more VOLAR barracks currently in the renovation process. Twenty-three additional VOLAR barracks are scheduled to be renovated as part of the Army’s Facility Investment Plan.
“What we want is to have our Soldiers have quality barracks and quality housing that is commensurate with their service,” McConville said.
McConville also reenlisted one Soldier and promoted another during the visit. Following the promotion, McConville asked the Soldier to video call his father.
“He’s doing such a great job we just promoted him to specialist on the spot, so you should be extremely proud of what he’s doing for your country and our Army,” McConville said on the call.
The senior leaders had their final stop at the Marne Innovation Center. While there, Spc. Salem Ezz, a Soldier currently serving on the division’s Innovation Team demonstrated his Mold Condition Awareness Tool, or MCAT, which connects to sensors installed in the barracks. Currently in a testing phase, the MCAT gathers data that will help Fort Stewart understand and combat ongoing issues with mold.
The MCAT was just one aspect of innovation that McConville and Grinston were able to see at Fort Stewart. Soldiers assigned to the Marne Innovation Team provided them an update on multiple ongoing innovation projects and solutions. The Marne Innovation Center is a hub for 3rd ID Soldier innovation. Soldiers can rapidly create and test prototypes through collaboration with DoD development and innovation organizations, academia, and industry leaders.
“We want our Soldiers innovating across the force, and what they are doing here is very significant,” McConville said. “When we go into a conflict, we want to make sure that we have the best technology and the best equipment for our Soldiers.”