Sergeant Major of the Army Visits Soldiers in Djibouti
Brig. Gen. Sanford Holman, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's deputy commander, and Rear Adm. James Hart, CJTF-HOA commander, welcome Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston and Command Sgt. Maj. Ian Toney to CJTF-HOA's Camp Lemonier June 2.... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP LEMONIER, Africa (Army News Service, June 4, 2007) - Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston visited Soldiers deployed here in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa June 2-4.

"This trip gives me the opportunity to visit the command, talk with Soldiers and see how the mission is going," said SMA Preston. "We're an Army of 1.2 million, so being able to travel to the many locations around the world where we have Soldiers deployed helps me better communicate the needs of our Soldiers to those at the Pentagon."

One-on-one time with SMA Preston gave 1st Sgt. Kent Chicosky, Company B, 489th Civil Affairs Battalion, the chance to get feedback from someone involved in major decision-making processes.

"It's great to be able to go straight to the source and express your feelings about the changes and improvements being made in the Army," 1st Sgt. Chicosky said.

For Staff Sgt. Leland Jones, post supervisor for the 554th Adjutant General, SMA Preston's visit was an opportunity to ask a question that's been on his mind for awhile.

"We have Army units stationed around the world, so for me I'd just like to know how we, in Africa, fit into the grand scheme of things," Staff Sgt. Jones said.

The SMA said he likes to talk with Soldiers about recruiting, deployments, changes in the Army, and how Soldiers can better tell their stories to those back home when they return.

Having the open dialogue with the Soldiers reminded SMA Preston that the best and brightest are joining the Army, he said.

"Credit must be given to the individuals who are joining our military services to serve a nation at war. That alone shows they want to be a part of a mission much bigger than themselves. It says a lot about their character and the heart of our nation," SMA Preston said.

The SMA went on to say the Army wouldn't be able to accomplish its mission without some help from its military counterparts.

"The opportunity to deploy to a forward location and work with other branches of service is becoming more common than it ever has in our history, and that is why I find it so impressive to see all of our services mutually supporting each other in theaters around the world," SMA Preston said.

(MC1 Mary Popejoy writes for the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs.)