By Story and photo by Natalie LakosilJune 20, 2012
FORT HUACHCUA, Ariz. -- The Army's most senior non-commissioned officer made his first visit to Fort Huachuca this week.
The 14th Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond Chandler III and his wife Jeanne visited the installation on Monday and Tuesday.
"It's been fantastic; it is the first time I have ever been here. I didn't really know what to expect but like a lot of other places around the Army, there are great things going on and great leadership so I am very impressed by what I have seen," Chandler said.
During their tour, Chandler met with different groups of Soldiers while Jeanne got an overview of Family services offered on the installation and talked with Family members.
Chandler first met with a group of female Soldiers to discuss the Sexual Harassment Assault Reduction Program, SHARP, which he also discussed at the town hall meeting later that afternoon.
He then visited the military intelligence training center. After viewing some of the courses offered, he stopped at the 2-13th Aviation Regiment and was able to see some of the unmanned aerial systems used in the field.
"Being out here with the 2-13th and watching what they are doing and seeing the training, I realize how important it is for our warfighters. I also got to spend a little time with AIT (Advanced Individual Training) students and listen to their thoughts on why they chose the Army and what they think about their training. It was really great," Chandler said of his visit.
Jeanne was not idle during the couple's visit here.
"This morning I went and visited ACS (Army Community Service) and all of the programs that are offered here and [learned about] some of [their unique features]. They are traditional Army programs but there are some unique spins. After that I met with three survivor Families that use the Survivor Outreach Program here on Fort Huachuca. It is a great program," Jeanne said.
"After that I met with Family Readiness Group leaders at the company level -- that was really terrific, it was a great turnout -- and visited junior enlisted housing, which was very nice as well.
"It has been a wonderful visit. The ACS here seems to be very creative, and you have very, very motivated spouse leadership," she added.
Sergeant Major of the Army and Mrs. Chandler then held a town hall meeting with Soldiers and Family members at Eifler Fitness Center.
Chandler discussed sexual harassment and assault in the Army as well as hazing, a decrease in military numbers and behavioral health services. "One sexual assault in our Army is one too many," Chandler told the crowded auditorium.
Chandler noted that in three years since the Army began the SHARP training, the number of cases had slightly increased to 1,701 in 2011 from 1,695 in 2010.
"If you are a professional you are not living up to the profession," he said while discussing hazing. Chandler reminded Soldiers of the case of Pvt. Danny Chen, who committed suicide after an alleged hazing incident by fellow unit Soldiers in Afghanistan. He instructed Soldiers to read the Army policy on hazing in Army Regulation 600-20.
Many of the questions asked at the town hall seemed to tie in with the cutbacks the Army has begun making. "We are going to reduce the size of our Army and there has been a lot of talk about what that actually means. We will reduce it in a number of ways; recruit less people, retain less people and eliminate some folks that probably shouldn't be in the Army," Chandler said.
Other questions covered the topics of salary, tattoo policies, breastfeeding, uniform regulations and more.
"Great feedback and a great group of folks. Our Army is going to become smaller than it is today but it is a great place to serve; if you want to be challenged, if you want to have opportunities to be a great leader, be something bigger then yourself, the Army is still and will always be the place to go to," he said.
"Fort Huachuca is extremely important for our nation, for the Army. We have learned so much of the past 10 years about the role of military intelligence and how it applies on the battlefield. I can't see anything but upward things for Fort Huachuca, I'm excited, and look forward to being here in a year or so and see what changes," Chandler said.
Chandler was sworn in as the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army March 1, 2011. He has held a variety of leadership positions throughout his career ranging from tank crewman to command sergeant major.
In his current role, Chandler serves as the Army chief of staff's personal adviser on all enlisted-related matters, particularly in areas affecting Soldier training and quality of life. He devotes the majority of his time to traveling throughout the Army observing training, and talking to Soldiers and their Families.
He sits on a wide variety of councils and boards that make decisions affecting enlisted Soldiers and their Families and is routinely invited to testify before Congress. The next stop for the Chandlers is Fort Bliss, Texas.