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NEWS | March 15, 2024

Career counselors ‘focus the eyes’ of Soldiers

By Robert Timmons Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office

Career counselors, especially those for the Army Reserves, hold an important mission for the entire force.

Counselors from across the Army attended Active Component to Reserve Component training at Fort Jackson, March 5-6.

Maj. Gen. Gene J. LeBeouf, deputy commanding general for Army Reserve Command, opened the training by awarding two Soldiers for their work and giving some advice to the attendees.

The Reserve counselors help “focus the eyes” of Soldiers coming off active duty, said LeBeouf, to the group of career counselors at the opening session of the training. “They want to remain part of that. This is the world’s greatest army.

“Active component or Reserve component it doesn’t matter, we are all one Army. You represent that. Those Soldier have got to see that in you and in your eyes that what you are saying is what you absolutely believe.”

A Soldier can see through it if the counselors are not sincere, he said.

The two-day training covered all aspects of active and Reserve Component career counseling with the purpose of discussing mission parameters, retention policy and pending changes to the Army force structure.

On day one, the career counselors were given an update about their branch and heard briefings on enlisted and officer packet quality control, VA benefits and the Army Continuing Education System. On day two, the counselors received training on the Integrated Personnel and Pay System- Army, briefings on special enlistment contracts, and Reserve Command personnel initiatives among others.

IPPS-A is a one stop program where Soldiers can view their records and conduct other personnel actions.

The training will help bring the components together, said Sgt. Maj. Tobie Whitney, the 16th Army senior career counselor.

“We are going through some very difficult times as a force, especially since last week when they announced we’re going to have a significant structural change,” he said. “Now more than ever, it’s vital that we have a partnership, and we work together.”

It’s one team, one fight, he added.

“That is how we always have to keep going forward as one team, one fight because keeping people in the total force is critical” since recruiting has become so difficult, he said. “We’re having challenges. Every service, every component is having difficulties getting young Americans to join the services.”

The changing force structure may also make retention in the components even more necessary.

“As we try to transition 20,000 Soldiers over the next two to three years, from one (Military Occupational Specialty) to another, as the Army changes our structure, we’re going to have a lot of people who don’t want to do that. They’re happy with their MOS that they’re in, and they don’t want to change.”

This makes it imperative for the active component to be at training like this because all components must be synchronized.

“If we can keep that Soldier in the total force, it’s a win,” he said.