From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander

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Since the last Griffon, all of our lives have changed dramatically. None of us expected all of the changes our society and world have made in order to deal with Covid-19. The complete effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are not yet known, but it is pretty safe to say that there will be lasting effects that change our future operations and daily way of life. I am confident we will certainly get through it and prevail. Many of the changes we were forced to make will positively impact our society as we recover from the pandemic, such as increased internet and broadband capabilities and the ability to order curbside and have home delivery from many more businesses than before the pandemic. As we turn the tide and begin the recovery, what are our responsibilities as Soldiers?

Our nation expects the Army to remain ready—pandemic or no pandemic. All American Soldiers have trained for operations in a nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) environment. We all remember having to take our masks off in the gas chamber, which is done to instill confidence in us that our protective mask was working before we took it off and will continue to do so in the future when worn properly. The lessons we derive from Covid-19 will probably create some new tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and standard operating procedures (SOPs). We are all a part of the history that will help create the new way the military operates based on lessons learned from Covid-19. Please let your chain of command know if your unit has created some techniques that you think are best practices going forward. I am extremely proud of the innovation across the 95th Training DIV in how we are sustaining mission readiness during a pandemic through Soldier Virtual Battle Assemblies (SBVA). In my entire career, I have never seen our junior leaders at the company level allowed this much freedom to conduct their own training. It is mission command at its finest.

I especially like the focus on fitness. Many units are having virtual ruck marches, diagnostic APFTs, and small group fitness challenges. To me the focus on fitness is very beneficial for two reasons. First, the Army expects us to stay in shape whether in home isolation or not. Second, by focusing on fitness, it allows us to connect with our Soldiers and each other more often. During times of home isolation, if you are like me, you want more than your Battle Buddy checking in on you. When you cannot go out and socialize, it is nice to have members of our Army family checking in on each other. Fitness activities are not something you do once a month. You need to do them daily or at least several times a week to stay in shape. I encourage you to not only reach out to your Battle Buddy during these times of isolation and social distancing, but to also reach out to other members of your unit to check on their fitness, their financial, their families, and their emotional health. Many times, even if we can’t solve the problem, the mere fact we asked, which shows we care, can help a Soldier and their family through tough times.

While we all eagerly wait on the restrictions on military travel to be lifted, we should all make sure that our administrative type readiness issues are in order. When we emerge and the travel restrictions are lifted, our units should all be in great shape on ARBs, DD 93, OERs and NCOERs, and security clearance submissions. Many of us can also get our dental exams and PHAs done. Take advantage of this pause in normal operations to ensure the items that affect your readiness status from an administrative perspective are completed.

None of us know when the restrictions on military travel will be removed or if there will be future restrictions if the virus makes a resurgence in the fall, but we do know our nation expects us to be ready. Take advantage of this time to focus on fitness and connect with your fellow Soldiers, not just your Battle Buddy, to ensure they are doing Ok and to motivate them to emerge in better shape and a few pounds lighter if needed. Also, do a check on your personal administrative readiness requirements and those of your Soldiers to ensure we can focus on training rather than administrative actions when restrictions are lifted. If you or your Soldiers need some military schools, this is a great time to see if you can get enrolled. Bottom line, take advantage of this time. The Army does not call in sick and neither do the Iron Men of Metz!

Ironman 6

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