Chandler visits with ‘Dagger’ Brigade Soldiers in field
From left, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, Command Sgt. Maj. Phong Tran, senior enlisted adviser with 1st “First Lightning” Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, and Lt. Col. John Mountford, commander of 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt., walk towards the battalion tactical assembly area Sep. 13 during Chandler’s visit to the field. Chandler toured the area, where the battalion is currently conducting dry- and live-fire certifications for M1096 Paladin howitzer crews, and spoke with Soldiers and leaders about various issues. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire)
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Story by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
2HBCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III stopped by a tactical assembly area where Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division were conducting a field exercise as part of his Sept. 13 tour of Fort Riley.
Chandler presented coins to six Soldiers and noncommissioned officers for outstanding service, before touring the training area where the "First Lightning" Battalion was conducting dry-fire certifications for their M1096 Paladin howitzer crews.
"I absolutely get a lot out of meeting face-to-face with Soldiers in the field," Chandler said. "Any day that you get out of the Pentagon and get here and see Soldiers is the best day that I have in the Army."
Among the Soldiers singled out for recognition by the battalion was Cpl. Ebony Allen, truck driver, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt., who is currently working above her pay-grade providing supplies to line batteries for their certification firing. Allen said she was nervous to meet Chandler, but looked forward to speaking with him.
"I've got some good insight on some stuff that I'd like to share with him, and, hopefully, tell him some things that I'd like to see – some improvements that Soldier would like to see," she said.
Allen said she hoped Chandler would leave with a positive impression of the job the battalion was doing.
"We get our jobs done. It's not easy. It's a lot of long hours, a lot of hard, hard work," she said. "But you know what? We still get it done."
Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher G. Gilpin, senior enlisted adviser, 2nd ABCT, said Chandler did indeed come away impressed with what he saw of the brigade's activities.
"He found the Soldiers to be motivated, proud of their jobs and accomplishments, knowledgeable about their systems and equipment, as well as representing their units in a professional manner," Gilpin said.
Gilpin said the experience of being out in the field was a rewarding one for Chandler.
"(He saw) that very important aspect of leadership – going out to where the boots are on the ground – that gives leaders the true picture of their Soldiers being tactically deployed," he said. "This only comes from being there with them in their environment."
Coming as it did the day after the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Chandler paid tribute to the courage of the young Soldiers who have entered the Army since that day.
"My own personal heroes are the young men and women who came into the Army since 9/11," he said. "Very few people in our country serve in the military, and those that do sign up knowing that they're probably going into harm's way relatively quickly – it's amazing."
By Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
2nd ABCT Public Affairs