FORT KNOX, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2010) - The U.S. Army Forces Command Command Sgt. Maj., Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling, spoke to a packed Abrams Auditorium in Fort Knox's Patton Museum on September 1.

The Soldiers whom Riling addressed were non-commissioned officers from the growing FORSCOM contingent on Fort Knox and included members of the 233rd Transportation Co., 19th Engineer Bn. and 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Headquarters, the unit that is responsible for most of the Soldiers who attended the event.

3d ESC's senior enlisted Soldier and Pleasantville, N.J. native, Command Sgt. Maj. Willie Tennant, Sr. briefed Riling on the 3d ESC's mission and then listened with the rest of the NCOs while Riling spoke about improving FORSCOM.

"His presentation, or his delivery, was at the Soldier level, so they understood exactly where he was coming from," said Tennant.

Riling spoke about discipline in the Army and the need for Soldiers to enforce standards and get "back to basics". The issues he discussed included Soldier and NCO of the Month competitions, alcohol and drugs, communication in the Army and safety.

Sgt. William Vargas, a Lawton, Ok. native and computer technician within the 3d ESC, was one of the newest NCOs in the room and said he agreed with Riling's main message of getting "back to the basics" of being a Soldier.

"He's an outstanding leader, and the first time you meet him or hear him talk to you, you can see it. He's real down-to-earth and he knows what he's talking about," said Vargas.

As he finished speaking to the Soldiers, Riling said each Soldier should, "Be proud of your unit. Be proud of the patch you wear," and encouraged the NCOs to enjoy their jobs, saying, "This is the best Army in the world."

Riling finished his time with the Soldiers with a question and answer session in which he talked in detail about non-commissioned officer education and the importance of each Soldier's chain of command.

Riling also took time to award FORSCOM coins to fifteen NCOs who distinguished themselves within their units and made a point to briefly speak with each Soldier.

Riling, a native of Riverview, Michigan, has only been the FORSCOM Command Sgt. Maj. for two months and says he has spent most of the time visiting FORSCOM Soldiers around the country. He said that his boss, FORSCOM commander, General James Thurman, has tasked him with visiting as many FORSCOM Soldiers as possible. Riling says he uses the information he gathers to advise Gen. Thurman on a variety of issues.

Riling's visit to 3d ESC Soldiers on Fort Knox came after he visited the 3d ESC's 49th Quartermaster Group Headquarters at Fort Lee, Va. and 7th Sustainment Brigade Headquarters at Fort Eustis, Va.

"He was really excited, not only to meet the Soldiers, but to see the capabilities embedded in these brigades as well as our headquarters," said Tennant.

Although scheduling conflicts prevented Riling from visiting the 3d ESC's 233rd Transportation Co. during the visit to Fort Knox, he expressed a strong desire to return to the installation to visit with more of FORSCOM's Soldiers.


Story by Sgt. 1st Class Dave McClain, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs. Photos by Sgt. Michael Behlin, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs. For queries, contact 3d Sustainment Command Public Affairs at (502) 624-8601. For high-resolution photos and stories by the 3d Sustainment Command, please contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System at (678) 421-6612 or access them online at