U.S. Sergeant Major of Army visits Fort Drum to discuss leadership, quality-of-life issues

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The 16th Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael Grinston, meets with Soldiers at Fort Drum’s Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort Drum, NY, on Jun. 2, 2021.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Josue Patricio)

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — During the first week of June, the U.S. Army Sergeant Major paid a visit to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.

Meeting with Fort Drum soldiers, civilians and families, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston discussed leadership and addressed quality-of-life issues on June 2 and June 3, 2021.

According to Fort Drum, Grinston discussed topics ranging from physical and mental fitness, unit discipline and the “People First” initiative.” This initiative was specifically addressed at a professional development session for noncommissioned officers and “acknowledges that the strength of the Army is in its people.”

The 16th Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael Grinston, meets with Soldiers at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort Drum, NY, on Jun. 2, 2021.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Josue Patricio)

“People First equals readiness,” stated Grinston. “When you’re not worried about your house, you are a more ready Soldier. If you don’t have to worry about child care, you are a more ready Soldier. But it doesn’t mean you don’t do tough training when it’s really cold outside. You build a better, stronger bond with your people when you challenge them with that tough training and you give them tasks and the right equipment to do them.”

Additionally SMA Grinston lead a discussion of about leadership at the 10th Mountain Division Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

The 16th Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael Grinston, leads a discussion on leadership and This Is My Squad during a leadership development program class at Fort Drum, NY, on Jun. 2, 2021.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Josue Patricio)

During the discussion, Grinston spoke on an initiative he launched title “This is My Squad,” which was launched to build cohesive teams across Army units. This was specifically formed to address challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We really, as an Army, need to get back together,” expressed Grinston “We need to interact with one another – to look people in the eye, talk to them, say ‘How are you doing?’ and really mean it.”

During his two-day visit, Grinston also led a roundtable discussion with Exceptional Family Member Program staff and spouses to learn of their concerns and to help make improvements.

This was held at the Chapel Drive Child Development Center and included Child and Youth Services staff members.

The 16th Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael Grinston, meets with Exceptional Family Member Program members at Fort Drum, NY, on Jun. 3, 2021.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Josue Patricio)

Grinston said that when the Army Chief of Staff laid out his quality-of-life priorities two years ago, the main focus was housing, health care and child care.

Adding, ‘that’s why I’m here, looking to see how we are doing with child care and what are the problems. And I’m going to do my absolute best to address those priorities.”

Grinston had previously served in the 10th Mountain Division (LI) as command sergeant major of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, but this was his first time back as the Army’s top enlisted leader.

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