By Sgt. 1st Class Howard Reed (Japan)November 13, 2012
Command Sgt. Maj. Steven L. Payton, command sgt. maj., United States Army Japan and I Corps (Forward), paid a visit to Soldiers on Okinawa Nov. 7th at the 10th Regional Support Group Headquarters on Torii Station.
Payton, who took over USARJ's top senior enlisted position Nov. 5th, said in addition to his first trip to Okinawa it is his first tour of duty in Japan. He added when Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond Chandler III, canceled a trip to Okinawa due to an illness, he took advantage of the opportunity to spend additional time with senior enlisted leaders on island.
"I'm glad to be here to find out not only what the 10th RSG does for USARJ, but for the pacific command as a whole. It's always good to get out and see what's going on and to be visible within the command. I'm extremely proud to be the Command Sergeant Major for USARJ," said Payton
Payton comes to the island as two well publicized incidents of misconduct by American service members. An alleged sexual assault in October and a violent home invasion in November, continues to stress relations with local residents. United States Forces Japan issued a curfew immediately after the alleged sexual assault and also directed a command stand down day to focus on core values for all commands within Japan. In addition to the core values training Soldiers on Okinawa were given additional training on the Army's Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Program (SHARP).
Payton stated although Soldiers were not directly involved in the incidents any negative actions by any service member, dependent and civilian in Japan reflects on every American.
"Soldiers are being educated on what it is to represent not only themselves but our country in a positive way. Our individual responsibility as good neighbors and guests of this great country is to make sure we're doing the right thing at all times and that leads to a great and prosperous relationship with our Japanese neighbors to include the Japanese Self Defense Force."
Payton received a command brief from 10th RSG subordinate units and was very pleased to know the functions and capabilities of each. He was elated to see how all of the units within the 10th RSG, both mainland Japan and Okinawa, come together to make a successful team.
Command Sgt. Maj. Shelton Williams, command sgt. maj., 10th RSG, welcomed Payton to the island and assured him the 10th RSG is prepared to be a member of USARJ's team and mission. He also let Payton know the command has embraced "Ichi dan" or one team spirit.
"We really enjoyed his passion, enthusiasm and energy and are fired up about moving an already strong team forward during his tenure as our top senior enlisted." said Williamson.
Payton, a native of Grenada, Miss., comes to United States Army Japan from the 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne), 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. USARJ is headquartered at Camp Zama on mainland Japan.
"My goal is to identify where my leadership and experience is needed. I want to create a positive climate for our Soldiers. I understand we can get more done as a team rather than individuals and that is priceless," explained Payton.