With the Holidays upon us and 2015 drawing to a close I could not be more proud of the work that you have accomplished over the year. The division successfully completed its assigned annual missions and increased its drill sergeant strength significantly. To all of you who helped accomplish the division’s mission, thank you. It really does take the entire team and that is not lost on the leadership. And to all of our new drill sergeants, congratulations! You have all contributed to the legacy of the Iron Men of Metz.
I am heartened by your progress along many lines of effort this past year and look forward to building on our successes. Over the next year the division will face even more challenges due to fiscal constraints. In order to be successful over the next year the division will be focusing on three things: Readiness, Drill Sergeant Production and Training Missions. The division needs all of you to assist in this effort.
Unit readiness is built upon individual Soldier readiness. It’s a simple principal and fundamental of building combat power.
First and foremost, all Soldiers will need to focus on their individual readiness. Unit readiness is built upon individual Soldier readiness. It’s a simple principal and fundamental of building combat power. Translated to this line of effort, it means; medical and dental screenings are completed; APFT is up-to-date; vaccinations are complete; and Professional Military Education (PME) is scheduled, ATRRS reservations are set and training is completed. Over the course of the last year the division carved out of hide 25% of training time to Soldier readiness, yet our readiness did not increase. We simply need to leverage our time better and increase readiness.
Due to the financial constraints placed on the military across the board and the reduction of full time support, responsibility for individual readiness will be on individual Soldiers. This does not absolve the first line leader from ensuring Soldiers are completing these tasks. I expect leaders to check and track. This is especially true in regard to PME. With the Army’s transition to a select, train, promote model, your career progression is largely in your hands. The division and your individual units will assist where possible.
Second, drill sergeant strength will be an enduring foundation of our success. In FY15 we accomplished our objective of 125 qualified Drill Sergeant Graduates – well done! The FY16 goal is 160 – no easy task. However, the command sergeant major and I take great solace in our unit leadership down to the company level and believe we can accomplish the goal. With that in mind, drill sergeant attrition due to promotions, retirements, etc. will require the division to place as much effort on drill sergeant production in the coming year as you did the last. As many of the Brigade Command Teams know, while they were briefing Maj. Gen. McQueen as the in-coming commanding general, I took notes on the brigade drill sergeant production goals.
Third, each of you must assist in the division’s recruiting effort. We will not be successful in training the Army’s newest drill sergeants without having good people fill our ranks. I need help from each of you in this regard. When you are attending your PMEs or providing mutual support to other USAR units, talk about our mission with your peers and encourage them to seriously consider becoming a drill sergeant. When you are out with friends, talk about what you do in the Army. Spread the word and invite good people into our ranks. When they respond positively, know how to steer them into converting their interest into a lead and ultimately into a viable candidate.
Finally, think safety. We are in a season of hazardous road conditions, long drives and celebration. Take the time to do a risk assessment of your travels, take frequent breaks in your travels, travel with friends and Family and do not drink and drive or drive tired. I would be remiss if I didn’t also remind you to ensure you watch those that may be struggling around the holidays. This is a time of joy and we should do all that we can to ensure it doesn’t become a time of tragedy. Thank you for all that you do and may the promise of the holiday season live up to all of your expectations.
Donna and I wish you and those you hold dear a safe, relaxing and joy filled holiday season.
Iron Men of Metz!