SMA urges NCOs to promote culture of professionalism
Sgt. Adam Ross,
16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment:
Taking questions from Soldiers throughout the day, the Army’s most senior noncommissioned officer touted a familiar theme, a culture of professionalism, June 20 as he toured his previous duty station.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, the 14th sergeant major of the Army, previously served as the commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here before being selected for his current position. Chandler also spoke at this year’s USASMA graduation ceremony Friday.
“It’s always great to come back to Fort Bliss,” Chandler said. “My heart is always with the Sergeants Major Academy, where I spent three years.”
While taking questions from fellow NCOs, Chandler clarified his position on reports that he favors regulating Soldiers’ off-duty appearance, reiterating that such regulations are not his aim.
“You have to change the culture and hold people accountable. We have to focus on our sergeants and staff sergeants having the personal courage to make a correction out of uniform,” Chandler said. “You are a professional Soldier 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you represent every other Soldier to the American public both on and off duty.”
Professionalism will be increasingly stressed in the Noncommissioned Officer Education System curriculum and through the Army’s current Profession of Arms campaign. The ongoing campaign is designed to focus on the values that define and distinguish the service.
“Making the new [Soldiers] in the Army understand some of the older policies, that’s the challenge,” said 1st Sgt. Francisco Declet of A Company, 4th Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division. “Some of them, all they know is deploy, desert, work, eat, go to sleep and wake up.”
Declet was one of dozens of first sergeants who gathered for a question-and-answer session with Chandler, where he stressed the importance of solving issues at the unit level, rather than waiting for new regulations. More important than the possibility of new regulations, Chandler said, is knowing the current ones and enforcing them. For example, Chandler said if there’s one problem with the current regulations for female haircuts and fingernails, it’s that males don’t know the regulations.
“That’s a training problem, not a regulation problem,” Chandler said.
Soldiers from 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, who won this year’s Sullivan Cup, which honors the top tank crew, were congratulated by Chandler in a coining ceremony at the division headquarters building. Having spent his career in the armor branch, Chandler quizzed the tank crew on their actions in the competition and congratulated them on the victory.
“Competition and excellence are awesome, thank you for doing this,” Chandler said.
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