By Bob Harrison, U.S. Army Forces Command Public AffairsDecember 9, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 5, 2011) - The U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) commanding general addressed members, family and friends of the West Point Society of the Piedmont during a luncheon here today.
Gen. David M. Rodriguez spoke to the group of more than 150 about his experience in Afghanistan, today's Soldiers, and how leadership developed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point continues to benefit both our Army and the nation.
"Today, we are Army Strong, and we remain focused on our people," said Rodriguez. "Focused on their physical strength, their emotional strength, strength in character, strength in the Army, and its capabilities, accomplishments and fortitude is all built around our Soldiers."
"And as the Chief (Chief of Staff of the Army) always says," continued Rodriguez, "they are the strength of our Nation."
Rodriguez was invited to speak to the group by Mr. Bill Trivette, President of the West Point Society of the Piedmont and USMA Class of 1970 graduate, and Mr. John Ferguson, Managing Director of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) - Greensboro Campus, Vice-President of the society and a USMA Class of 1984 graduate.
Earlier in the day, Rodriguez spoke to a class of FORSCOM leaders nearby at the CCL. FORSCOM partnered with the CCL-Greensboro Campus to conduct leadership development training for field grade officers and senior civilians. Both Ferguson and Trivette recognized the opportunity to also invite Rodriguez to address the West Point society luncheon.
Rodriguez, a 1976 graduate of West Point, spoke at length about his time at the military academy, and what the institution means to our Army and the nation.
"What does it take to lead our American Soldiers?" Rodriguez rhetorically asked the luncheon group. "It's not a mystery, it's all the things we teach in our institutions like West Point, it's what we teach our junior leaders in the Army every day."
"It's real simple to understand, but it's very, very hard to execute." Rodriguez continued, "At the end of the day, we have to ask them to be adaptive, to make decisions in the absence of orders and often with limited information. We teach them to lead, to fight and to win! To accomplish the mission, and they do just that."
Rodriguez took some time near the end of the luncheon to answer questions from the audience. Many questions sought Rodriguez' opinion of the Army today and what he believed about the future of the U.S. Army.
"America, justifiably so, expects discipline and professional conduct from those of us in uniform," said Rodriguez. "Make no mistake, those who by free choice stand in the ranks today are rendering superb service to their country."
"Our Army continues to be the most lethal, agile and deployable ground force in the history of warfare," he said. "We're going to look forward and not backwards. We're going to make it a better Army every single day, just like I've been able to witness over the last 35 years."
"I'm glad to be a part of that," Rodriguez said as he concluded his remarks, "and I'm glad they let me be a part of that team. I'm thankful every day for that."