By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsNovember 6, 2012
CAMP CARROLL, South Korea (Nov. 5, 2012) -- The U.S. Army's top noncommissioned officer encouraged American Soldiers to look out for one another during a visit to South Korea today.
Addressing a wide variety of Army-wide issues, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III and his wife Jeanne met with U.S. troops during a town hall meeting at this logistics post in the southeastern corner of the Korean Peninsula.
As part of the Army's Profession of Arms campaign, Chandler said the Army was increasing its focus on standards and discipline.
The SMA emphasized the importance of Soldier involvement in preventing suicides, sexual assaults and hazing in the ranks.
According to Chandler, more Soldiers have committed suicide during this year than at any other time since the Army has been tracking it.
"We actually have more Soldiers who are dying from suicide than are dying in combat," said Chandler.
To reverse this tragic trend, Chandler encouraged Soldiers to recommit themselves to looking out for each other. He said that personal involvement was the key to combating suicides.
"It's not going to be a video. It's not going to be a poster. It's not going to be me standing up here and talking about it. It's going to be you," said Chandler. "And I'd ask you to focus on what you can influence."
"If we re-establish our sense of commitment to one another, I personally believe we are going to turn this around," said Chandler.
Chandler said the Army was on track to meet its end strength goal of 490,000 Soldiers by 2017.
According to Chandler, 75 percent of the people leaving the Army are through natural attrition and the other 25 percent are from misconduct, poor performance or the failure to maintain physical standards.
The SMA said he welcomed the opportunity to meet with American Soldiers around the world, adding that the feedback he receives informs Army policy decisions in the Pentagon.
"The best part of this job is to come see you," said Chandler.