By Sgt. First Class Victor Gardner, 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs September 17, 2012
CAMP PARKS, Calif. -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III was quoted by Army News Service last month as saying, "If every Soldier focused on being a person of character, commitment, and confidence, our Army will become better than it is today."
Chandler has visited almost every Army installation stressing the importance of the "Total Solider Concept." With the downsizing efforts of the military as a whole, Chandler wants each troop to be a well-rounded Soldier and not just excel at one aspect of being a Soldier.
The "Total Soldier Concept" is designed to bring out the best in every Soldier. Physical fitness, education and leadership, along with other aspects, are the focus of the "Total Soldier Concept." In other words, better-rounded individuals will meet the criteria of the "Total Soldier Concept."
One Division West Soldier from the Pleasanton, Calif., area strongly believes in this concept and is a professional who is committed to growing in and contributing to the Army. This Soldier is dedicated, confident in his abilities and shows great character, according to his section noncommissioned officer.
Spc. Brian Richardson is a 28-year-old, very successful executive with a clothing company who decided, at the age of 24, to join the Army Reserve as a human resources specialist. He drives 360 miles every month to be a part of Battle Assembly with the 1-363rd Training Support Battalion, 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West, located at Camp Parks, Dublin, Calif.
When Richardson decided to join the military, it was not because he wasn't doing well in the civilian sector. Rather, he joined the military because, he said, "One, it was a way of challenging myself and doing things for myself to see what it is I can do. And, two, it's a way for me to give back to my Family and country."
Following advice from his Family, Richardson joined the enlisted ranks to learn humility, gain an understanding of tasks, and be a "doer" -- all qualities that will enhance his leadership style for future opportunities, he said.
"Being in the Army now for four years has been a way for me to give back to my Family and my past Family members who have served, and it's an honor to understand the organizational structure (of the Army) and gain the skill sets (I have obtained) and put things into perspective for myself," Richardson said.
For Richardson, the "Total Soldier Concept" means "being a well rounded citizen … I think, from my perspective, you're the bridge or you're the ambassador to those that are on one side or the other, civilian or military. It's also a way of saying 'You know what, this country allows me to become a total Soldier and citizen!'"
Taking a deep breath, Richardson explained that the "Total Solider Concept" doesn't just mean the way a Soldier looks. "The physical side is just one aspect," he said. "Being competent and challenging you to learn more and do better at preparing yourself for tasks that aren't going to be physical is the other part."
One of Richard's goals is to transition to the officer ranks, and he feels that his time as an enlisted troop will be extremely valuable in assigning and accomplishing tasks. He believes humility, understanding tasks and commitment to being a part of the process are the foundation of creating a better-prepared leader.
Richardson holds his Family in high regard and values their opinions and support. His wife, Meg, has been very supportive in both his military and civilian endeavors. Richardson said it's through her, and his parents, Bruce and Cecilia Richardson, that he grows stronger and wiser in both careers. Also, Richardson's uncle previously served with the 1-363rd and advised him that the unit would treat him with respect and support all of his goals inside and outside of his military life.
"This unit embraces the 'Total Soldier Concept' here," Richardson said. "I understand that, one year, my focus is going to be mainly military, and the next might be focused on the civilian side, which adds value to the Soldier and vice versa. This unit understands that, in order to have a better Soldier, training and plans need to change. I really love that about this unit."