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NEWS | Oct. 8, 2015

2015 Army Reserve Commander's Conference kicks off

By Sgt. Marc Loi 200th Military Command

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The 2015 U.S. Army Reserve Commander’s Conference kicked off today. The annual event allows all Reserve command teams to come together and receive guidance from the top down.

Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commanding general of U.S. Forces Command, and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, highlighted several issues during the opening session, including conceptualizations of force readiness, suicide prevention and the upcoming shift in leadership roles.

Talley stressed the importance of Soldiers being properly trained to help accomplish the Army Reserve’s missions. He added that leaders must “get involved” in Soldiers’ training.

“Invest in your Soldiers and leaders,” Talley said. “That investment will keep the organization going.

“When you get them to believe that the organization is more important than themselves, and that they are important within the organization, they will stay within the organization.”

The morning’s keynote speaker, Abrams added to Talley’s point by showing the audience a picture of Sgt. Thomas Williams, the 200th Military Police Soldier who participated in the Best Warrior Competition in 2009. In the picture, Williams is in the prone position, his weapon at the ready, wearing the proper protective equipment and is concealed by a tree branch.

“This is a picture [that encompasses] a Soldier in training – tough, realistic training,” Abrams said. “He’d just jumped off a helicopter, he has his weapon at the ready. His chinstrap is on correctly, he’s wearing the proper protective gear – that’s a result of repetitive, realistic training.”

The making of Soldiers like Williams, Abrams said, is a result of repeated training through what he defined as part of a “sets and reps” approach that will make Soldiers more competent and ready for their missions. Much like weight lifting, repetitive training through short- and long-range approaches helps Soldiers achieve success.

The result, Abrams added, provides readiness for the entire force, decreasing the perceived differences between active duty and reserve Soldiers.

“When you put on the uniform, you are one Army,” he said as he showed the audience a picture of a U.S. Army nameplate.

“I don’t care that you’re in the Army Reserve, the enemies don’t care, and the Afghans we’re helping don’t care.

“What they care about is this,” he said, pointing at the U.S. Army nameplate.

The leaders also touched on the importance of suicide prevention. Addressing the recent spikes in suicide by Army Reserve Soldiers, Talley said prevention is among the issues leaders need to focus on.

“It troubles me deeply,” he said. “It’s predominantly young men who are committing suicide – and I am convinced the only ones who can solve this are the non-commissioned officers.”

“NCOs are our first-lines of defense for suicide prevention,” Talley said. Fort Family Program is available too.

A one-stop shop that provides a plethora of services to Army Reserve Soldiers and their families, Fort Family is specifically designed with their unique challenges prioritized.

“It helps better not only the Soldiers, but the Army Reserve family and is available 24 hours a day,” he said.

Before finishing his session, Talley also addressed the current search for his replacement. Once confirmed, the new CAR will take over in mid-2016.

Since 2012, Talley has served as the CAR after swearing in to a four-year statutory term. Throughout his tenure, Talley has articulated the importance of working tirelessly to make the Army Reserve better.

Talley said commanders are welcomed to reach out whenever they need help.

“You have a moral, professional and legal obligation to let me know if I am not doing something to help you,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me when you call. I am here to empower you.”

For more information on the Fort Family Program, go to www.arfp.org or call 1-866-345-8248.