By Brandon BieltzJune 14, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (June 14, 2012) -- Greeted with a standing ovation and a chorus of "hooahs" from more than 300 Soldiers, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III walked down the center of McGill Training Center on Friday to address the Fort Meade community.
The 90-minute town hall was the last of several stops that the Army's highest-ranking enlisted Soldier made during his daylong visit to Fort Meade. Along with his wife, Jeanne, Chandler visited with Soldiers and their families throughout the installation.
"Jeanne and I travel around the Army and it's our job to go out and be a scout," Chandler said at the town hall. "We're here to hear what's on your mind and to share some information with you."
Chandler began his tour by meeting with several command sergeants major from various tenant organizations, discussing the complexities of the installation and future growth and transitioning of the Army.
"Fort Meade is a very interesting and unique installation in our Army -- a lot of different activities," he said.
The couple then visited more than 20 Soldiers from the Warrior Transition Unit at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center. Chandler also met with members of the Asymmetric Warfare Group to discuss its current operations.
Jeanne Chandler focused on meeting spouses of Soldiers and with family readiness group leaders of frequently deploying units, including 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) and the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion.
At noon, 10 Soldiers and their spouses lunched with the Chandlers at the Freedom Inn Dining Facility.
"I had the opportunity to see Soldiers and their families," Chandler said. "It was an awesome experience."
Following lunch, Chandler's tour continued with a stop at the 780th MI to meet with members of the newly activated cyber brigade.
His visit concluded with the 90-minute town hall at McGill that began at 2:30 p.m.
Soldiers, civilians and family members filled the main ballroom as Chandler discussed several topics facing Soldiers and their families including professionalism, hazing, sexual assault and harassment, and the importance of strong leadership.
After the 30-minute presentation, Chandler opened the floor for questions. During the next hour, Soldiers asked questions ranging from changes in policies and military courses to physical training.
Chandler concluded the town hall by recognizing several members of the Fort Meade community including Employees of the Year and Soldiers and NCOs of the Year.
Sgt. Kaya Hansen was among those to be presented with a Sergeant Major of the Army Coin. During a brief ceremony after the town hall, Chandler promoted Hansen.
"I'm extremely honored and humbled by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get pinned my sergeant rank by the sergeant major of the Army," she said.
Chandler remained at McGill for nearly an hour following the town hall to meet with those who wanted to shake his hand or pose for a photo.
"It was a great privilege and opportunity to meet with Sergeant Major of the Army," said Pfc. Connor Mendez, a video production and documentation student at the Defense Information School.
Chandler called the people at Fort Meade "amazing folks" and said he looked forward to returning to learn from the Soldiers and families.
"Today was a very enlightening day," he said.