Story and photo by Spc. Andrew Ingram
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III spoke to Soldiers about many of the challenges the Army currently faces during a visit to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, March 25.
The Army’s senior enlisted leader, tasked with the training and welfare of the force, spoke about the troops’ commitment and the standards by which they should be living.
“There are a lot of things I want to talk about, but the first thing I want to say is ‘thank you,’” Chandler said. “You are out here in the desert; you are away from your Families and loved ones. I understand that is tough; but we are grateful for your service and your commitment to the nation.”
Chandler encouraged Soldiers to remain resilient and ready to confront challenges facing troops in today’s Army.
“You have to recognize the things that make us who we are as Soldiers and what the American people expect from us,” he said. “We are held to a higher standard than most, we are the top 1 percent. It is not enough to be competent. We must have character, and we must be committed to our nation and to this profession.”
Chandler also emphasized Army leadership’s goal of eliminating suicide and sexual assault throughout the force, and the individual Soldier’s role in the prevention of both.
“The standard is to eliminate sexual assault,” he said. “We had fewer assaults last year than the year before, but any sexual assault is too many. Preventing it starts with the little things. Stop letting inappropriate jokes slide in the workplace; even careless words can lead to sexual assault.
“The Warrior Ethos teaches us to never leave a fallen comrade,” he continued. “Yet the suicide rate continues to climb. We are all responsible for the welfare of our brothers and sisters in arms. We must look out for each other.”
Chandler also answered questions posed by Camp Buehring Soldiers about the future of the Army.
The sergeant major of the Army answered Soldiers’ questions directly and demonstrated the Army leadership’s respect for their enlisted Soldiers’ concerns, said Sgt. Harold Hoover, Company C, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
“He gave us a better perspective on what is going on throughout the Army,” Hoover said. “He cleared up a lot of my Soldiers’ questions right off the bat before they even asked and spent a lot of time answering others’ questions as well.”
Spc. William Grimaldo, Company B, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., said the visit showed the importance Chandler places on enlisted Soldiers.
“He let us know that the military is doing (its) best to help us out, to get the things we need,” Grimaldo said. “I really appreciate him taking the time to speak with us and answer our questions.”