This year’s Regional Commanders Conference at was held at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters on Fort Eustis, Virginia, July 20, 2017. The RCC is an annual event co-hosted by the NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, Gen. Denis Mercier, and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Paul Selva. The conference provides a venue for NATO and U.S. commanders to discuss future defense posture and force development. Attendees include senior service, Joint Staff and NATO staff in the region. (U.S. Army photo by Clay Weis)
FORT LEE, Va. — Contrary to popular belief among the general public, most of the jobs in the Army are not combat related.
More than two dozen educators from across the nation got to witness first-hand how the Army trains and educates Soldiers for more than 150 different career opportunities during U.S. Army Recruiting Command‘s 2017 National Educator Tour here June 21-22.
Attendees met with Soldiers and Army leaders and networked with other influential community leaders who share similar interests.
The two-day tour highlighted career specialties specific to the training mission at Fort Lee and included a visit to the premier Army Logistics University. The state-of-the-art learning center not only trains Soldiers to be adept in planning and executing logistics for the Army, but it also prepares them for civilian employment after they exit the service, said ALU Commandant Col. Tom Rogers.
“Planning to move supplies in Iraq is no different than planning to move supplies for (a company) in the U.S.” Rogers said. “We plan, load a truck, drive a truck, and manage inventory. (Soldiers) are better suited than their counterparts, because they’re put in harder situations with much more dire consequences.
“But they’re learning and doing the same things that their civilian counterparts are doing from a technology and education and learning standpoint. So they are very well prepared to operate in the civilian world.”
Rogers said if Soldiers take advantage of getting the certification for the training and education they receive from schools like ALU, they will leave the Army with the credentials ready to work in the civilian sector.
“Not only will they have the same civilian credentials that their peers in the civilian world have, but they will also have their military experience and the maturity they’ve learned from leading and developing others,” Rogers said.
Educators visited the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department, where Soldiers learn how to rig and perform maintenance on parachutes and perform sling load and air load inspections.
Due to their extensive knowledge and experience, it’s hard to keep paratroopers in the Army when they’re regularly courted by private companies in the parachute industry, according to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cortez Frazier, command airdrop advisor for the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department.
“They’re getting jobs as equipment specialist and becoming the experts for the industry,” Frazier said. “Because not only have they operated the equipment, packed it, and jumped it, but they take that information to the industry and tell them what works and how it can be done better.
“(Having this knowledge is) hard on Army retention but guarantees a good job on the outside.”
At the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Department Robotics Lab, educators learned about the different robots the Army uses to dispose of ordnance. Soldiers learn how to operate and perform preventive maintenance and basic repairs on the equipment as well as how it’s used in homeland defense and tactical environments.
Many Soldiers with four to six years of training in EOD have been hired to be the subject matter experts for robotics companies, according to Master Sgt. Jason Cox, department sergeant major for the Munitions and Explosives Ordinance Training Department.
“Several former Soldiers now work for major robotics companies as either service representatives or in product design and development,” Cox said. “One Soldier provides code for robotics systems.”
Cox added, “With the training and knowledge learned here, (and being in) an environment where you can meet other people in the same field that have the same objectives and goals (puts you in position) to develop robotics for the defense and civilian sector.”
Dr. Larry Nabors, president Mississippi Delta Community College, said he was surprised to learn the Army offers more than 150 occupations.
“You don’t think a lot about those behind-the-scenes jobs like the parachute riggers, mechanics, folks who run the washers and dryers and all that it takes to keep an Army going,” Nabors said.
“A lot of the skills are very transferable to the public sector jobs. I think it’s great those young people are learning those skills. Whether they decide to stay in the Army or not, they have a skill to fall back on. I was really surprised to learn about the high-tech jobs, especially with the robots — a lot of technology.”
Nabors said the knowledge he gained during the National Educator Tour will help him recommend the Army in the future.
“I think we’ll try to work more closely with our local recruiters and give them an opportunity to speak to our young people and let them know about the different jobs available for them in the Army,” Nabors said.
Educators were briefed on March2Success, a free online, academic program designed to enhance student performance on standardized and college admissions tests while enhancing their science, technology, engineering and math skills and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program, which helps students find careers of interest.
Many were surprised to find out the Army offers tuition assistance to Soldiers while they’re serving, in addition to the Montgomery GI and Post 9/11 Bills, which pay for training and education after Soldiers complete their minimum service obligations.
Tom Tillberry, president of the Minnesota School Counselors Association, said he was aware the Army offered more than just combat jobs, but he didn’t know how much money it committed toward education and training.
“They’re not just preparing Soldiers for jobs, I think they’re preparing them more for life,” Tillberry said. “I was impressed with the education center and that mission and all the Soldiers that are pursuing higher education (while serving), that impressed me. Many of them had bachelor’s degrees and a master’s.”
As a counselor, Tillberry said he will recommend Army service to his students.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, commanding general U.S. Army Recruiting Command, said this tour a good way to help educators fully understand what the Army offers, so they can help their students make informed decisions about their futures.
“Students are told they can choose to go to work, pursue a college degree, or look to technical education when they are planning for life after high school,” Snow said. “They don’t realize they don’t have to choose — they can do all three at the same time with the Army.”
Maj. Gen. Paul Benenati, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command deputy chief of staff, hosted Brig. Gen. H.G.J.A. “Ron” Smits, commander of the Royal Netherlands Army Training Command, along with a delegation of 12 students and six faculty members from the Royal Netherlands Army Land Warfare Course at TRADOC headquarters on Fort Eustis, Virginia, June 26, 2017. The delegation received briefings on TRADOC, Multi-Domain Battle and the Future Force Development Strategy as well as a tour of the Operational Environment Training Support Center.
This is the sixth year that the Land Warfare Course has come to TRADOC as part of their annual trip to the United States. This visit built upon the United States’ and the Netherlands’ long-standing relationship by fostering personal relationships and enhancing the students’ understanding of TRADOC and Army Capabilities Integration Center roles and missions. In addition, the visit helped synchronize the armies’ interoperability goals and explore areas for future multilateral cooperation. (U.S. Army photo by Clay Weis)
Maj. Gen. Robert “Bo” Dyess, acting director of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center, hosted Brig. Gen. Jukka Sonninen, chief of Training and Education, Finnish Defence Command (FINDEFCOM), during a visit to TRADOC headquarters on Fort Eustis, Virginia, April 26, 2017. In addition to receiving updates on current TRADOC initiatives, Sonninen also used this opportunity to discuss future bilateral cooperation opportunities and showcase FINDEFCOM’s role in concept development, training and education. (U.S. Army photo by Jahara Catala)
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Twelve members from the longest running military service organization in the United States, the Legion of Valor, toured Joint Base Langley-Eustis, April 21, 2017.
Founded originally as the Medal of Honor Legion in 1890, the Legion of Valor was later chartered by an act of Congress in 1955, adding U.S. Air Force Cross recipients to the organization.
Legion of Valor members are recipients of the nation’s highest recognition for heroism in combat, either receiving the Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross to the Congressional Medal of Honor or Air Force Cross, and are honored through the organization.
Each year, members of the Legion of Valor gather for an annual convention to enhance their understanding of current military affairs and provide mentorship from personal accomplishments or failures. This year, Newport News was chosen for the convention, which included a tour of Fort Eustis.
To kick-off the tour, members visited the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to learn about the future of armed conflict, briefed by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, Army Capabilities Integration Center acting director.
Following the briefing, Soldiers were able to speak one-on-one with the Legion of Valor members, making connections through shared memories of their time in the military.
After talking with the decorated veterans, Dyess felt strongly about making ties with the group and learning from the time they spent fighting our country’s wars.
“When you think clearly about the future of armed conflict, you think about threats, enemies, adversaries, our missions, changing technology, history and lessons learned. These guys are walking lessons learned and walking history,” said Dyess. “It’s important to recognize these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that have sacrificed so much for our country. It’s also important to gather their observations and lessons learned because war is a human endeavor and they have seen the worst of it.”
While some of the Legion of Valor members operated weapon simulators during the tour of the Maritime Intermodal Training Department, retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Claude Quick, stayed to view portraits and displays on the walls of the quiet halls. Quick, a Medical Corpsman of 11 years and a Military Police Office for the duration of his time in service, experienced the war in Vietnam and now has a difficult time being around loud noises.
Twenty-five years after retiring from the Army, Quick received the Distinguished Service Cross at the Hall of Honor in Washington, D.C. in front of his friends and patients he treated in Vietnam.
“The Legion of Valor allows us to be normal human beings,” said Quick with tears forming in his eyes. “We know everyone in this group has basically the same story. To be in group where we don’t have to tell our stories and worry about the long recovery afterwards is a comforting feeling.”
After visiting several unit across the installation from Third Port to the 128th Aviation Brigade, the heroes ended their tour at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, surrounding themselves in Army history.
The museum houses an extensive Vietnam War exhibit, including a downed UH-1 Iroquois helicopter and the only surviving Vietnam-era gun trunk. Throughout the museum, the Legion of Valor members were brought back through parts of history that they endured to ensure a future of freedom for generations to come.
Quick added looking at his fellow veterans, “To be in a group now, where every one of these people are heroes–national emblems of our country–is amazing.”
For more information about the Legion of Valor, visit www.legionofvalor.org.