05/26/2020 | Photos and Story by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M Litchfield 108th TC PAO
Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest, 108th Training Command (IET) Command Sg.t Maj., fought hard for this event. He approached the commanding general, Maj. Gen. Kate Leahy with his vision and explained why he thought this was so critical. She agreed and the planning began.
Priest meticulously planned every detail and curated the guest list. When he was done, he had created an event that combined fielding of the new ACFT, NCO professional development through leader engagement, detailed briefings on promotions, recruiting, readiness, and many others. The event was specifically designed and executed to ensure that every Sgt. Maj. throughout the entire 108th Training Command (IET) from two-star level down to battalion level spoke with the same voice on the command priorities.
“I’m really excited for this,” explained Priest. “This is a command priority. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of guidance to be given.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest, 108th Training Command (IET) Command Sgt. Maj., con-gratulates Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Potts, 95th Training Division (IET) Command Sgt. Maj. on his top ACFT score during the Command Sergeants Forum at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
The results were overwhelmingly positive.
“This leader symposium was extremely beneficial,” stated Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Potts, 95th Training Division (IET) Command Sgt. Maj. “This gave our leaders an increased understanding of new and upcoming changes in many areas such as the Drill Sergeant Academy, USASMA, and BCT. It was extremely helpful to have the commandants from the academies brief all the changes firsthand. It also gave our leaders the ability to peer-to-peer network and seek out how others tackled challenges with the rapid changes the Army is going through.”
Master Sgt. Nash, 108th Training Command G-2, verifies security clearances and places a wristband authorizing access to the classified briefing on each eligible attendee during the Command Sergeants Major Forum at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
One of the highlights of the event was exposure to the Army Combat Fitness Test. Everyone attending the event, support staff included, had the opportunity to not only gain familiarization with the test, but an assist from local trained graders ensured that an official diagnostic test was able to be given as well.
“By far the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) was my favorite part of the symposium.,” enthused Potts. “This event gave some of our leaders a first look at the ACFT. There has been a lot of negativity towards the ACFT, most is from ones that have not taken it. During and after the ACFT, our leaders were motivated and very competitive and excited about the changes. There shouldn’t be anyone talking negatively towards the ACFT until they have done it.”
Ms. Anderson, 108th Training Command Executive Assistant, manages the hospitality table to keep snacks and beverages available to the attendees during the Command Sergeants Major Forum at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
One of the benefits to such a large number of leaders taking the test was also the research benefit. Master Sgt. Virginia Frizzell and Sgt. 1st Class Justin McCarthy, both from the 108th Training Command (IET) headquarters staff, not only ensured the test could be accomplished, but also analyzed and submitted a data report following the event. The statistics from that report will assist leaders in focusing their ACFT training in the upcoming months.
Along with the ACFT familiarization, briefings were held to familiarize leaders with changing regulations, ensure they understood procedural challenges, defining readiness expectations, and many others.
Leaders from the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, the United States Army Drill Sergeant Academy, Training and Doctrine Command, 81st Readiness Division and more spent the weekend briefing attendees on everything from the new military education benefits to proper construction and evaluation of promotion packets. A secure, classified briefing was also conducted, complete with a sanitized room, no electronics and roving guards outside the venue.
After briefing the attendees on the rules of engagement for the weekend, Sgt. Maj. Oliver, 108th Training Command G-3, introduces 108th Training Command (IET) Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest for his opening remarks during the Command Sergeants Major Forum at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
With the NCO corps as the backbone of the Army, and our senior NCOs are continuously learning with on-going changes in the Army, this weekend of information and training proved essential to peer-to-peer engagement with also building relationships across the enterprise.
The feedback for the weekend was overwhelmingly positive, with many Sgts. Maj. expressing their appreciation for the professional development, and their commitment to carrying the program on at their divisions.
“Anytime we can get BN, BDE, and DIV leaders together there is never a dull moment,” said Potts. We took full advantage of this event and it will definitely pay off. We need to build off this initial one and task a Division to host the next symposium.“