Army's top sergeant makes a visit to MacDill
Tech. Sgt. Jim Moser
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston, visited MacDill AFB, Monday to spend time with U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command troops.
He held two enlisted calls and spoke at a luncheon where he presented awards to the top Soldiers in the joint commands, Army National Guard, Reserves, Recruiting and Junior and Senior Reserve Officer Training Programs.
During the calls, Sergeant Major Preston covered important topics such as Army transformation and the performance of the Army Guard and Reserve units deployed overseas.
"Two things transformation gives our Soldiers and their families are predictability and stability," he said. "We have grown the Army by three brigades and by 2006 this number will increase to 10. These new brigades and the ones already transformed in their respective divisions will have a three-year lifecycle.
"Troops in these brigades will remain together -- train, deploy and redeploy as a team over a three year period. So when a soldier goes to one of these new brigades, he or she can plan on being with the unit for at least three year stay at a given location. When the three years are up, Soldiers can PCS to a new base or possibly remain where they are for another cycle."
Transformation also means a shuffling of personnel.
"We have a lot of troops in 'Cold War' jobs," Sergeant Major Preston said. "I call these 'high density low demand' fields. The Army is going to rebalance those people to 'high demand low density' fields like military police and civil affairs. Somewhere between 100,000 to 115,000 Soldiers will transform to new positions."
It is not new news that the Army National Guard and Reserve are heavily engaged. Citizen Soldiers are on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and other theaters around the world.
The sergeant major pointed out at one time the Guard and Reserve were the Army's poor relation.
"In the past the Guard and Reserves received the hand-me-downs and leftovers from the active-duty Army," the sergeant major said. "But not anymore -- 40 percent of our forces in the Iraqi AOR are Guard and Reserve. They are highly trained and well equipped professionals. I'm proud to serve with them, and we couldn't do the mission without them."
According to Sergeant Major Preston, even with the need for transformation, the Army is the best it has ever been.
"I'm very proud of what our Soldiers are doing," he said. "I hope when they finish their tours, they can look back and say 'I helped make the world a safer place.'"