FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 8, 2011) -- The sergeant major of the Army visited Fort Lee Tuesday to present awards to the support staff of the 2011 Best Warrior Competition.

Before recognizing the Fort Lee members, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III took time to share his thoughts on professionals.

"Who has their dog tags?" he asked.

After hearing affirmation in the audience, Chandler said "That's the mark of a professional. I've got mine on."

Being a professional is about character, commitment and competence, he said.

"If you're not wearing (your dog tags) right now, in this auditorium, you're wrong," said Chandler. "And if you're wrong, it's because of one of three things: You're not a person of character. You're not a person of commitment, or you're not competent. If you say 'No one is more professional than I,' how can you say that if you are not willing to wear something as basic as a dog tag."

Moving back to basics is the future of the Army, said Chandler. He pointed out how well the Army has done in the last 10 years, but said some have let the standards slip away.

"Let's get back to dog tags, physical fitness, and looking and acting like a Soldier," Chandler said. "That's what's going to drive our Army in the future -- the realization, or reawakening, that something as basic as a set of dog tags defines who you are. Wearing your dog tags and being a person of character, doing what you are supposed to do even when no one is looking."

Chandler encouraged the noncommissioned officers, or NCOs, in the audience to enforce the standards of the Army.

"You have to know what the standard is and you have to be able to set it yourself," he continued. "Are we going to walk past a deficiency or are we going to correct it and move on?"

Recognizing the importance of the Best Warrior competition for the Army, Chandler said Team Lee does a tremendous job at providing the resources that make the competition work. He said while the Army will continue to look at alternate locations to hold the event, as efficiency and effectiveness should always be sought, the Fort Lee team is the intangible that will likely keep the competition returning here.

"Your commitment to excellence, I believe, is going to see the event stay here for the foreseeable future," Chandler said. "My hat's off to you for everything you did."

Command Sgt. Maj. C.C. Jenkins Jr., CASCOM and Fort Lee command sergeant major, has been the driving force of the last three Best Warrior competitions. While he will retire before the next one, Jenkins said it was a distinct honor for him to be able to recognize the support team.

"We have the opportunity to recognize the people of Fort Lee, not only Soldiers, but civilians and contractors as well, everyone who had a part in this great event," he said. "It's a pleasure and privilege to work as your sergeant major at Fort Lee. We identified our best Soldiers, the best to put on the team, to make this event successful."

The SMA handed out 32 SMA coins, 18 signed photos and three letters to members of Team Lee who supported the event.