Creating the CST Soldier Support Center

The 3-414 Cadet Summer Training (CST) Battalion is trying something new when it comes to supporting Soldiers administratively. 

Sgt. 1st Class Shelly Lesperance dreamed up the idea of a one-stop company S1 shop where all the Human Resource Specialists in the company could pool their knowledge and work together in one office space to improve the administrative portion of Soldiers’ lives. The shared office space was a key element to Lesperance’ s plan, as shared workspaces “foster crosstalk, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge” explained SFC Lesperance.

A fair amount of Army systems and programs are designed to be Soldier led, such as the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) and Service member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI). However, many Soldiers do not know where these items are located in the myriad of Army portals and websites and that is precisely why the 3-414 CST’s Soldier Support Center was created.

“Soldiers can come to one office to find the answer to most any questions they might have regarding administrative actions,” said Lesperance proudly. She then joked, “we have over 30 years of combined 42A knowledge concentrated in one office, that’s a lot knowledge!”

All kidding aside, the Soldier Support Center is designed to help that Soldier who has had the Student Loan Repayment Program in their reenlistment or enlistment contract for years and has yet to take advantage of that benefit. Lesperance encourages the clerks of the Soldier Support Center to not just do the requested action but to teach the Soldier where to go and what to do in order to empower the Soldier to be able to not only help themselves in the future but to assist their fellow Soldiers as well.

“One person can’t hold all the knowledge, you have spread the smarts around,” Lesperance says with a grin.

Lesperance is assisted in the Soldier Support Center by Staff Sgt. Steven Smeal and Staff Sgt. Terra Watson. Together the three Noncommissioned Officers administratively look after over 150 Soldiers in Alpha Company 3-414 CST. That number of Soldiers makes for a busy weekend but Lesperance and her crew like it busy.


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