My name is Spc. Saul Baez, and I am part of the 368th Seaport Operation Company, 11th Transportation Battalion, located at Fort Story, Virginia. I joined the Army in January 2014 as a motor transport operator, or 88M.
I was invited by Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport Sr., U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s senior enlisted leader, to be a guest “behind the camera” during the last TRADOC town hall that was livestreamed worldwide March 30, from Fort Eustis, Virginia.
The town hall made sure the 391,000 Soldiers across the force (active component, Guard and Reserve) had the opportunity to receive information on what was going on within TRADOC, and what direction the Army is moving. It provided an interactive forum for Soldiers to ask questions and provide feedback.
I met the sergeant major at the Fort Eustis food court while he was filming promotions for town hall 4. He was with a camera team and stopping random Soldiers to ask them questions on NCO 2020, while letting them know about the upcoming event. When he offered me the opportunity to view the town hall broadcast, I thought it would be a great way to see what happened behind the scenes, on and off camera.
For about two hours, I got to speak with the different command sergeants major and guests who attended the town hall as panel members. It was so great to see each of them answering questions on the chat board and social media websites during their breaks, responding to questions related to their respective programs.
After witnessing all of this, I was able to answer some questions for myself. I’m talking about addressing the elephant on many Soldiers’ minds: Are the town halls rigged? Are the questions loaded?
And the answer is no. The town halls are not rigged, and the questions were not loaded.
I watched the command sergeants major and sergeants major working hard to keep up with the continuous volume of questions coming in from across the force during the event. These senior enlisted leaders did not hesitate in engaging Soldiers to assist them in making decisions or address their concerns. To my surprise, during one break, Sergeant Major Davenport also came to the computer room to answer questions directly on the chat board, and then headed back to the studio to continue with the livestream event.
At the end of the town hall, the subject matter experts addressed an estimated 600 questions and comments. It was really impressive and telling about their commitment to the force.
I believe the town halls are very beneficial to our Soldiers. I hope to see them continued in the future as a way to maintain communication with NCOs and Soldiers across the Army.
For those who were unable to watch or participate in the town hall, the recorded session has been posted on TRADOC’s YouTube channel.