PINELLAS PARK, Fla. –
The Army Reserve Medical Command’s Return to Readiness effort brings Soldiers back to formations providing the tools needed to ensure Soldiers are proficient in warrior tasks, battle drills, and their military occupational specialty at the individual level, said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Boudnik, the command sergeant major for Army Reserve Medical Command, explaining the intent of the AR-MEDCOM NCO Readiness Workshops.
The workshops, held Oct. 18-21 and Nov. 15-19 at the CW Young Armed Forces Reserve Center in Pinellas Park, Florida, are a way to ensure a smooth return to readiness as units transition from months of virtual battle assemblies due to COVID-19 restrictions to in-person training. Presentations from AR-MEDCOM staff sections focused on system and process changes that have occurred over the past several months and on strategies to address readiness challenges brought on by working in a virtual environment.
“It was valuable – the information provided at the workshop was great!,” said Sgt. 1st Class Maria Guerra, Detachment NCO for the 7214th Medical Support Unit, Garden Grove, California. “We need to go back now and implement it.”
Guerra added that her biggest takeaway from the workshop is that the Army Reserve is focusing on people first, recognizing that getting the individual Soldier ready will lead to unit readiness.
“I learned a lot and will not only bring this back and keep it in my tool box, but I’ll also be able to give this information to my leaders – my platoon sergeants, my OICs,” she added, noting how the workshops will be a combat multiplier in impacting the readiness of units. “The information I received here is going to be pushed forward to our future leaders.”
Preparing leaders is key to the return to readiness, noted Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Lombardo during his visit to the October workshop. “I can’t stress this enough, that this team sets the culture of the organization,” he said. “We’re in a time of transformational change, where we need to build these cohesive teams at the squad level.”
Guerra added that there were several tools that would help her empower her leaders, particularly one within the Digital Training Management System.
“The Small Unit Leader tool in DTMS will be crucial in showing accurate numbers and reflecting the training our Soldiers are receiving,” said the Jurupa Valley, California resident, who also works as a manager at a home improvement store. “Having our platoon sergeants focus on their Soldiers, and giving them the tools to easily keep track of where everyone in their footprint sits will empower them to better take care of their Soldiers.”
That empowerment is exactly the direction Maj. Gen. Jonathan Woodson, AR-MEDCOM commanding general, wants units to move. “Inspire. Manage. Lead,” he exclaimed, addressing the command’s enlisted leaders at both iterations of the conference.
“People are our credentials. We have to ensure we are strong, we have to ensure that our formations are full, we have to ensure that our Soldiers are trained and proficient in their warrior tasks and skills.”
Ultimately, the approximately 80 senior noncommissioned officers from across AR-MEDCOM who attended the workshops will use the tools provided to them to grow readiness within their units, by helping to build individual readiness and by empowering and developing future leaders.
“You don’t need a title to lead,” explained Boudnik. “True leadership begins with leading yourself first, before you lead others.”