Austin observes JRTC rotation; discusses health of force
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III speaks with Soldiers training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. Austin visited the post Oct. 11-12, 2012, to observe the first JRTC and Fort Polk Decisive Action rotation... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT POLK, La. (Oct. 18, 2012) -- Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III visited the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Oct. 11-12, to discuss the health of the force and observe a portion of the installation's first Decisive Action rotation.

More than 4,800 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, the XVIII Airborne Corps, U.S. Army Special Operations Command's 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, other key Army units, and the U.S. Air Force, are participating in this Decisive Action rotation.

The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command developed the Decisive Action Training Environment to create a common training scenario for use throughout the Army. After more than 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan where the Army honed its counterinsurgency skills, Army Soldiers and units are focusing on comprehensive training in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment to meet the challenges of potential future threats. These threats could include guerrilla, insurgent, criminal and conventional forces operating against U.S. interests in a dynamic, synchronized effort.

During Austin's tour of the training area, (called the JRTC box), he met with Soldiers and roleplayers. Roleplayers serving as Afghan villagers and officials are a key element in a "realistic, relevant and rigorous" JRTC rotation.

Also on Austin's agenda was a health of the force update at Fort Polk's Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital. Taking care of Soldiers, with the right resources to do so, is one of Austin's top priorities, he said.

"The policy changes that need to be made, we'll endeavor to make those changes," Austin said. "And where there are resources that need to be applied, we'll look at getting more resources out to the field as well."

Addressing the stigma associated with asking for help was one of the topics presented during the update.

"Ultimately, we want the mindset across our Force and society at large to be that behavioral health is a routine part of what we do and who we are as we strive to maintain our own physical and mental wellness," Austin said.

The bottom line, said Austin, is the welfare of Soldiers.

"We will do what is necessary, because this is about taking care of our most precious asset, and that is our people," he said.

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