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NEWS | Nov. 6, 2017

Readiness is priority for Reserve legal operations

By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Scavetta USAR Legal Command

During a recent U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command senior leader visit, Soldiers from the 3rd Legal Operations Detachment showed they are ready for upcoming missions.

Brig. Gen. Mitchell Chitwood and Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Montoya visited the New England-based detachment during the unit's battle assembly weekend, Oct. 21. While there, the leaders inspected supply and weapons storage areas, plus spoke with the unit's attorneys and paralegals.

"Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism of our Soldiers as they provide legal support for our Army," Chitwood said.

During the visit, Master Sgt. Aaron Brown, who also serves as the unit administrator, led the command team through supply areas. The leaders are focused on making sure detachments have the correct supplies and understand any logistical issues detachments may face, Montoya said. Chitwood took time to open supplies and ask Brown questions about the unit's inventory.

"You don't have nearly as much excess as other LOD's," Chitwood said. "That's good."

Afterward, Chitwood briefed the 3rd LOD Soldiers on his command priorities, the first of which is medical readiness. Making sure annual medical and dental screenings are completed is essential, to meet the Army's readiness expectations and to secure resources for the command to do its job, Chitwood said.

"It's too easy. We just have to see the doctor and the dentist on time. When your leadership tells you to do that, please get it done," Chitwood said. "Medical readiness is my top priority."

Other command priorities include supporting Reserve components with legal services and integration with legal counterparts in the active component, Chitwood said.

"By resolving legal non-deployable issues for Soldiers and their commands, we're increasing their readiness," said Chitwood, adding how that work also to provide training for USARLC Soldiers. "It's a win across the board."

It was also important to Chitwood to quantify the legal services that USARLC provides and to share the Legal Command's story with senior Army leaders.

"We must be able to demonstrate the value we bring, metrics that quantify our work," Chitwood said.

The U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command (USARLC) is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, about 25 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. Led by Brig. Gen. Mitchell R. Chitwood, the command oversees 1,800 personnel stationed in 104 cities in 43 states in the continental U.S. and two overseas locations. This includes Soldiers serving as judge advocates, warrant officers, paralegal noncommissioned officers, junior enlisted personnel, plus civilian para-professionals.

The command serves the legal needs of the Army Reserve Soldiers, families, and retirees. It also augments the active Army, backfilling units, working at installation legal offices and supporting forward deployed military missions. The Army Reserve provides approximately 87 percent of the Army's legal units and approximately 40 percent of the Army's attorneys.

The 3rd LOD is headquartered at a U.S. Army Reserve Center named for Cpl. Gordon Craig, a Soldier who earned the Medal of Honor in 1950, when he saved fellow troops by smothering a grenade with his body during a battle of the Korean War. Soldiers from the detachment have recently deployed to support military operations in Africa, Korea and Germany. The detachment recently helped several Army Reserve paralegals and judge advocates to mobilize for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Completing annual training and medical check are just a couple of ways the 3rd LOD has maintained its readiness, said Col. Jeffrey Hart, the detachment's commander.

"We were able to show the commander what we care doing on individual readiness and demonstrated that the unit is ready to carry out its missions," Hart said.

Officers asked Chitwood about the ability to be issued an assault rifle in combat zones, rather than a pistol. They also asked about opportunities to mobilize and serve overseas.

Chitwood often travels to visit USARLC detachments. After visiting the 3rd LOD in New England, he traveled to the 10th LOD in Maryland. Readiness, Chitwood stressed, includes Reserve Soldiers sorting out details in their personal and professional lives, allowing them to support the U.S. military in potential conflicts overseas.

"We're going to be called upon to mobilize and deploy quickly. That's why we exist," Chitwood said. "I need you to think in those terms."