Soldiers benefit from transformation

By Sgt. Annette B. Andrews
28th Public Affairs Detachment

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — The 13th sergeant major of the Army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, discussed Army transformation and how it benefits Soldiers during his visit to LSA Anaconda Aug. 15. While Preston addressed the troops on transformation, he also spoke of the warrior ethos instilled while in basic training. The American Soldier is an "Infantry Soldier first and an occupational Soldier second," he said.

The Army is currently made up of 33 brigade combat teams; these brigades will eventually be transformed into 43 brigade groups of action, and potentially five more BGA's will be added after that, Preston put forward.

"The transformation over the next three to five years is going to be the largest transformation since World War II," Preston said.

Transformation means stability and predictability for Soldiers and their families, he stated. By stabilizing the Soldier straight out of advanced individual training for 36 months, most Soldiers will be encouraged to remain with that unit for a second tour, this is where Soldiers get six or seven years at one duty station. This stability enables Army spouses to pursue careers of their own. Also the service members' children will be able to graduate from one school before attending another level of education. Making an investment in a home is another possibility brought on by stability.

This type of stability keeps brigade teams together for cohesion and predictability. For example, if a unit is at 100 percent manning until 2006 and that unit receives orders to deploy to Afghanistan for six months there is guaranteed unit integrity.

That unit will perform exceptionally well because the Soldiers had been working together as one team for quite awhile, he stated.

Service members will be able to predict when a deployment is coming up. Families can plan for other unit activities as well.

During his briefing, he reminded the troops that "every Soldier is a rifleman." The crowds nodded their heads in agreement.

Being a warrior and a Soldier's Soldier, Preston took the time to pose for photos with LSA Anaconda troops and listen with a look of pride on his face as individuals recited the Soldiers Creed:

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a mentor of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally
tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy
the enemies of the United States of
America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

Before he departed, Preston said the senior leadership at the Pentagon wants the troops to know "We are all very proud of you and your families and the sacrifices you make everyday."

The sergeant major of the Army will return in December with the USO show.

Editors Note: Sgt. Andrews is a member of the 28th Public Affairs Detachment from Fort Lewis, Wash. She is currently deployed to Iraq in support of the 13th Corps Support Command at LSA Anaconda where she is the editor of the Anaconda Times newspaper.


news photo
Soldiers benefit from transformation

news photo
Soldiers benefit from transformation