An attitude of gratitude! Hunt the good stuff! That’s what I’m thinking in the middle of this hot summer. I’m especially thankful and proud of serving with all of you: our Soldiers, Army Civilians, and Families.
I just returned from a hot streak of excellence over the last few weeks, including the Soldier, NCO and Drill Sergeant of the Year Competitions at Fort Jackson, a big batch of Army Combat Fitness Test completions across the footprint, Reception Day for the new cadets at West Point, Change of Command and Responsibility Ceremonies at Fort Benning (Home of the Infantry!) and elsewhere, and bigger and better positions of responsibility and promotions for our outgoing warrior leaders!
There’s so much great Initial Entry Training going on for America’s Soldiers and you’re all right in the middle of it. Socially and physically distanced, it’s quite easy to get yourself into a rut or some old-Soldier thinking that everything is going to heck or: “No more shark attacks?!? The Army isn’t what it used to be.” I can say that this was NOT what I found in the field. Everything, and I mean everything, was BETTER than I expected. I found eager, enthusiastic trainers and trainees with their shoulders to the wheel, working as a team. Nothing was as bad as some would lead us to believe. “The first report is rarely correct…” I found this ancient sentiment to be accurate. There’s a lesson in there: sometimes you have to go see it for yourself. Personally, I left all these events rejuvenated and motivated to do more. Thanks to everyone who is leaning forward, making a difference, and providing great training to the next generation of America’s Soldiers.
The summer is an important time of transition for our Army. Not only a summer surge of young Soldiers at the Army Training Centers, USMA, and Fort Knox, but many changes and moves throughout our Headquarters. I’m seeing several of my close friends and teammates moving on while welcoming new, fire-breathing, workhorses to the team. I am proud to announce the selection of my battle-buddy Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest to become the command sergeant major for the 3RD MEDCOM. While it’s tough to let him go, I know that those MEDCOM Soldiers are getting a dynamic and engaging command sergeant major who will make them even better than they thought they could be. Therefore, I want to welcome Command Sgt. Maj. Judd Mooso and family from Army Reserve Aviation Command back to the 108th team! I’m very excited to have such a strong contingent of command sergeants major at all levels that deployed overseas as part of the 108th during our storied history.
The command group also welcomes a new Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Jeff Farris and family from USACAPOC, while we farewell Brig. Gen. Stephanie Howard to take the helm at U.S. Army Reserve Sustainment Command. Please take some time to greet and meet these newcomers, including the new AGR Soldiers joining the team in Charlotte. You don’t have to look hard to find present and former 108th Training Command Soldiers doing great work throughout the Joint Force.
I had the pleasure of hosting the 98th Training Division Relinquishment of Command Ceremony at at Fort Benning recently, to see off my friend Brig. Gen. Tony Wright who goes on a long tour with NATO out of Norfolk, Virginia. We wish him Godspeed and thank him for his leadership of the 98th Training Division.
Last on this topic, we hosted our first in-person retirement ceremony at the Headquarters, where we farewelled and thanked our Command Chief Warrant Officer CW5 Neal O’Connor, our G8 Col. Matt Patterson, and our Director of Internal Review, Lt. Col. Sammy Hicks. It was a wonderful ceremony with lots of family and friends on hand. Fortunately, I was able to find an excellent internal hire for the CCWO in CW4 Sutton from our own G6 shop. Welcome, Chief!
Now is the time to stay positive. We’re at the height of our training season and everything is going very well thanks to all your hard work, planning, and preparation. Do take the time to check on your teammates, offering encouragement and support where possible. Thanks for everything you do for our great Nation.