By Stephanie BryantSeptember 23, 2011
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, accompanied by his wife, Jeanne, hosted a forum to talk with noncommissioned officers, Soldiers and spouses at the Aliamanu Military Reservation Chapel, Monday.
Chandler said his visit was a "reconnaissance" mission for the Department of the Army.
He and his wife travel to installations and conduct forums with Soldiers and families to get feedback about what programs work and what programs don't quite measure up to their needs.
Chandler initiated the forum with information on nine-month deployments, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, retirement and the drawdown of troops.
Chandler said it's his goal to make sure that Soldiers and families have a good understanding of the changes that are taking place in the Army and, more importantly, why they are taking place.
"This is about being an engaged leader. ... You have to lead your Soldiers and guide your family members through what will be a challenging time (of change)," Chandler said.
Once Chandler finished his opening remarks, he opened the floor for questions. Soldiers addressed concerns they have about topics like promotions, tuition assistance and changes happening to Army Regulation 607-1, which covers wear and appearance of Army uniforms and insignia, and AR 600-9, which covers the Army's Weight Control Program.
Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Acevedo, maintenance supervisor, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said Chandler addressed all the major topics that he had concerns or questions about.
"I wanted to hear about 'don't ask, don't tell,' Acevedo said. "It is important to know how we, as an Army, are adapting to fit in with the rest of society … also to know what direction the society and U.S. Army are trying to go."
The forum concluded with a brown bag lunch, where Soldiers were able to kick back and dine with Chandler and his wife, and with Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota, senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Pacific-Hawaii, and his wife, Vira.