Top soldier visits troops in the KMC

Joe Monchecourt
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***The top enlisted man in the U.S. Army made a pit stop at the 21st Theater Support Command last week, assuring senior NCOs that transformation is only going to make their jobs and lives better.
“Transformation” has become the buzzword, especially here in Europe, as the Army attempts to strategically streamline, maneuver and restructure its troops.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston described the impending changes and the overhaul that will take place in the next several years to a crowd of 150 KMC NCOs at Kleber Kaserne’s theater Sept. 28.

“Transformation means predictability and stability for Soldiers and families, that’s all that it is,” said Sergeant Major Preston, who was en route to U.S. Army Europe’s premier training event, the Land and Combat Expo in Heidelberg. “For a private first class, a sergeant or a sergeant first class, and with your military occupational skills and the jobs you do every day, transformation is going to be transparent.”

Sergeant Major Preston said that the Army plans to grow from 33 to 43 brigades in the next two years and has the option of expanding to 48 brigades in 2007, with the focus on developing “more modular, more ready, more relevant, strategic units.”
“This should take some of the pressure off deployments,” he said, noting that by adding possibly 15 brigades, there would be a 30 percent increase in deployable forces. Last year, 26 of 33 brigades had been deployed, he said.

“We have to take the pressure off those who are seeing back-to-back deployments,” he said. “And by doing this, we will put some stability back into Soldiers’ and families’ lives.”
Sergeant Major Preston went on to explain how units can expect to do one or two deployments in a six-month cycle during a 36-month period, and that Soldiers will not PCS until the end of that cycle. In other words, Soldiers will spend three years in a unit, with the possibility of staying longer depending on the slots that become available.

Sergeant Major Preston went on to explain how transformation will also create more cohesiveness and stability for Soldiers’ families.
“Think about it, most spouses have jobs but they do not have careers. That’s because they are always being forced to PCS,” Sergeant Major Preston said. “Imagine the stability of kids growing up in the same school.”

Sergeant Major Preston also said that certain military occupational skills, such as artillery, will shrink and some 6,000 Soldiers will be trained for other MOSs in which there are low densities and high demand, such as transportation and truck drivers.
“The battlefield today is a 360-degree battlefield,” he said. “All of us grew up in a Cold War Army, but all of that is gone. We have to be able to take the fight to the enemy.”