Military Family Forum II: Soldier & Family Readiness - Identifying Needs & Leveling Expectations

Military Family Forum II: Soldier & Family Readiness - Identifying Needs & Leveling Expectations

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 to Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Diane Randon

Diane Randon

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower & Reserve Affairs

Ms. Diane M. Randon was selected for the Senior Executive Service in June 2007. She has served as the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management since October 2012.

In this position, Ms. Randon serves as a Headquarters, Department of the Army Staff Principal of an organization that provides policies, programs, and resources for installations infrastructure and services worldwide. She ensures facilities are available for senior installation commanders and takes care of the well-being of Soldiers, Families, and civilians who live, work, and train on Army Installations and who are geographically dispersed. She has over 30 years of experience in resource and program management from a variety of assignments within the Department of the Army and Department of Defense, both in the continental United States and abroad. Ms. Randon most recently completed a certificate program in Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance.

Ms. Randon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Old Dominion University and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Syracuse, University.

Carra S. Sims, Ph.D.

Carra Sims

Senior Behavioural and Social Scientist

Carra S. Sims is a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation working primarily in Project AIR FORCE and Arroyo Center on U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army manpower and wellness. Her current and past research includes investigating the effects of workplace stressors (including military deployment, discrimination, and sexual harassment) on job attitudes and performance; assessing quality of life issues faced by wounded warriors, military families, and caregivers; evaluating employee selection systems, including the use of the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test in the Air Force officer selection system; exploring the effects of organizational climate and culture on job attitudes and behaviors, and how best to change organizational climate and culture; and determining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success in various military and civilian jobs. Prior to joining RAND, Sims examined issues of climate, stress, and morale for the Army Trends Analysis Research Unit at the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. She has published several RAND reports and her work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology and Personnel Psychology, among other venues. She received her Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

SGM Rodney J. Rhoades

SGM Rodney Rhoades

Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management

Sergeant Major Rodney J. Rhoades is the senior enlisted advisor to the U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. Sergeant Major Rhoades assumed his duties as the senior enlisted advisor on March 24, 2016.

Sergeant Major Rhoades has served in many enlisted leadership positions from section sergeant to command sergeant major. He has served as command sergeant major of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, command sergeant major of U.S. Army Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and U.S. Army Garrison Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

Sergeant Major Rhoades also served as the command sergeant major for the 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Hood, Texas, deploying as the battalion’s command sergeant major in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from October 2006 to February 2008.

Sergeant Major Rhoades’ other assignments include first sergeant, 89th Transportation Company (Medium Truck); command sergeant major, 7th Transportation Group; first sergeant, 558th Direct and General Marine Maintenance Company, 567th and 169th Transportation Companies; and the Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He served with the 143rd Transportation Command in Orlando, Florida, and Camp Doha, Kuwait. His tenure with the 24th Transportation Battalion included duty in Saudi Arabia and Mombasa, Kenya, as well as Fort Eustis. He served in Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Saudi Arabia; Restore Hope, Somalia; Desert Thunder, Kuwait; and Support Hope, Kenya. His first assignment was as an infantryman with the 1st Battalion of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

Sergeant Major Rhoades graduated from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 2005. He also completed every prior noncommissioned officer education system course, as well as the First Sergeants Course, Force Management Course, Garrison Command Sergeant Major Course, Battle Staff Course, Equal Opportunity Course and Basic Instructor Training. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College, Albany, New York.

Sergeant Major Rhoades’ awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge.

Sergeant Major Rhoades is a Noble Patron of Armor, the Order of St. Christopher, the Order of Saint Barbara, and a Sgt. Audie Murphy Club member.

SMA Michael A. Grinston

Sergeant Major of the Army

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston was sworn in as the 16th Sergeant Major of the Army on Aug. 9, 2019. Grinston has held every enlisted leadership position in artillery, ranging from cannon crewmember to command sergeant major.

As the sergeant major of the Army, Grinston is the Army chief of staff's personal adviser on matters affecting the enlisted force. He devotes the majority of his time traveling throughout the Army to observe training and interact with Soldiers and their Families. He sits on a variety of councils and boards that make decisions affecting enlisted Soldiers and their Families and routinely invited to testify before Congress. Grinston is the public face of the U.S. Army's Noncommissioned Officer Corps, representing the NCO Corps to the American people in the media and through business and community engagements.

Grinston is a native of Jasper, Alabama, and enlisted in the Army in October 1987. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training as an artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Grinston’s deployments include Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve, Enduring Freedom, and Kosovo. As the 1st Infantry Division command sergeant major, Grinston served as the senior enlisted leader for the Army’s first deployment of a division headquarters in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He also served as the I Corps command sergeant major, and as the command sergeant major for U.S. Army Forces Command.

Grinston’s military education includes all levels of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. He is a graduate of Ranger School, Airborne School, Drill Sergeant School, Air Assault School, How the Army Runs Course, the Equal Opportunity Leaders Course and the Keystone Course. Grinston holds a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College.

His awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2nd award), Bronze Star Medal with Valor (2nd award), the Bronze Star medal (3rd award). He has earned the Ranger tab, Master Parachutist badge, Air Assault badge, Drill Sergeant Identification badge, and the Combat Action Badge.

Grinston is married and has two children.

CSM David S. Davenport Sr.

CSM David Davenport

Command Sergeant Major David S. Davenport Sr. assumed duties as Command Sergeant Major, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command on 24 February 2015 after serving as Command Sergeant Major, United States Army Europe. Command Sergeant Major Davenport has held a variety of leadership positions in armor and cavalry organizations and commands throughout his career, ranging from dismounted cavalry scout to command sergeant major.

Command Sergeant Major Davenport is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and entered the Army on June 22, 1983. He attended Basic Combat Training and Cavalry Scout Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During his 31-year career, he has served in every enlisted leadership position from cavalry scout and tank commander, to his current position as command sergeant major.

His other duties and assignments include division command sergeant major, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; post command sergeant major, Fort Bliss, Texas; command sergeant major, Future Forces Integration Directorate, Fort Bliss, Texas; 5th Brigade (AETF), 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; 1st Squadron, 1st U.S. Cavalry, Budingen, Germany; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Division, Wiesbaden, Germany; 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor, Vilseck, Germany; 3rd Battalion, 73rd Cavalry and the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor, Republic of Korea; and 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.

Command Sergeant Major Davenport’s military education includes the Primary Leadership Development Course; Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course; Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course; Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute; Master Fitness Trainer Course; Jumpmaster Course; First Sergeant Course; the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (Class 52); and the Army Force Management School.

His civilian education includes an associate degree in liberal arts, a bachelor’s degree in social work, and a master’s degree in business administration (focused on leadership) from Norwich University. He was awarded the Association of the United States Army 2006 Larry Strickland Educational Leadership Award for his commitment, both professionally and personally, to enhancing the professional developments of his Soldiers and noncommissioned officers.

Command Sergeant Major Davenport’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (2nd award), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (8th Award), Army Commendation Medal (6th award), Army Achievement Medal (8th award), Good Conduct Medal (10 th award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2 nd award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Lithuanian Land Forces Medal of Distinction, Humanitarian Service Medal (2nd award), Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (4th award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (5th award), NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Command Sergeant Major Davenport is a member of the Excellence in Armor Program, the Order of the Spur; the Order of Saint George; the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club; and the Order of Saint Barbara.

CSM Christopher S. Kepner

CSM Christopher Kepner

Command Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard

Command Sergeant Major Christopher Kepner was selected as the 11th Command Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard on May 2nd, 2016.

In his current position, Command Sergeant Major Kepner represents and advises the Director of the Army National Guard on matters pertaining to Army National Guard policies and actions that affect enlisted Soldiers of the Army National Guard through meetings, conferences, information exchanges and on-site observation, coordinates with the Sergeant Major of the Army and Command Sergeants Major of the Army National Guard and Major Army Command formations; reviews and inspects field training, inactive duty training, overseas deployments and Noncommissioned Officer Leadership schools on behalf of the Director.

CSM Christopher Kepner was born in York, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the United States Army in October of 1980 and attended Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Following his graduation from AIT CSM Kepner served seven years on active duty with the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions before joining the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He earned a Bachelors of Business Administration from American Intercontinental University in 2006; and a Master of Science in Leadership from Duquesne University in 2012. CSM Kepner is married to the former Mary Wise and they have four children.

CSM Kepner’s assignments include serving in all enlisted infantry positions while assigned to Bravo Company 1-504 PIR. Other key assignments include; Detachment Sergeant, 104 LRSD; First Sergeant, Bravo Company 1-111 IN; Operations Sergeant Major, 1-111 IN (deployed Kosovo); Command Sergeant Major, 2-112 IN Stryker (deployed Iraq); Command Sergeant Major 28th Combat Aviation Brigade; Senior Enlisted Leader of the Philadelphia Papal National Special Security Event; and Command Sergeant Major, 28th ID.

CSM Kepner’s military education and training includes all levels of NCOES to include the Executive Leader Course, United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, and Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education. CSM Kepner’s military training also includes: Combat Leaders Course, 18th Airborne Corps Recondo School, Northern Warfare Instructor Qualification Course, Pathfinder School, Ranger School, Basic and Advanced Airborne schools, Jungle Warfare School, and Long Range Surveillance Leader Course.

CSM Kepner’s awards include; the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters), Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon (with Numeral 4), NATO Medal, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Honduran and Spanish Parachutist Badges, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Major General R. White Jr. Medal, General Thomas J Stewart Medal, Pennsylvania Twenty Year Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal (Historical), Iraq Campaign Medal (with 1 campaign star), Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation.

CSM Ted L. Copeland

CSM Ted Copeland

Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve

Command Sergeant Major Ted L. Copeland was born and raised in Wapakoneta, Ohio. In 1984 he joined the United States Army and attended One Station Unit Training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama.

CSM Copeland has served in various assignments stateside and overseas including the Law Enforcement Activity Company, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky; 55th Military Police Company, Camp Market, Korea; 342nd Military Police Company (EG), Columbus, Ohio; HHC, 391st Military Police Battalion, Columbus, Ohio; CSM of the 391st Military Police Battalion, 300th Military Police Brigade; 4th Bde, 75th Training Division (MC), 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and currently serving as the 79th Sustainment Support Command, Command Sergeant Major. CSM Copeland has served in every leadership position from team leader to CSM and twice as a company 1SG. While serving in the above duty positions CSM Copeland has participated in five mobilizations and operational deployments to Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Cease Fire); Turkey, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (OEF, OCONUS); Ft. Riley, Kansas (OEF, CONUS); Iraq (OIF 07-08), Afghanistan (OEF 12-13).

CSM Copeland’s formal military training consists of Primary Leadership Development Course, MP Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course, MP Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course, TATS First Sergeants Course, the USASMA Sergeants Major Course, Non residence Class 30, Command Sergeants Major course and Army Substance Abuse Program.

He is a retired Police sergeant and his civilian education includes an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Vincennes University. He also is a graduate of the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy, the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy and has a combined total of over 1300 hours in civilian law enforcement training. He is certified as a Firearms instructor, ASP and PR24 instructor, Background Investigator, Police Motorcyclist and Police Carbine, Shotgun, Revolver and Semiautomatic Instructor.

CSM Copeland’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4th OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (3rd OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (2nd OLC), the Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), the Army Reserve Achievement Medal (7th Award), the National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Southwest Asia Service Medal (3 Bronze Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (1 Bronze Star), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (1 Bronze Star), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Service Medal, Korean Defense Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Ribbon (20 Yr Device, M-Device, Numeral 3), the NCO Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 4), the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Overseas Ribbon (Numeral 2), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), NATO Medal, Army Reserves Overseas Training Ribbon and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Unit Meritorious Award.

CSM Copeland resides in Wapakoneta, Ohio with his wife Grace and son Trevor.

R.E.A.L. Training Overview

Heather E. Leiby

School Liaison Transition Specialist

HQ IMCOM G9 United States Army


Lead Speaker:

Diane M. Randon

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army

Manpower & Reserve Affairs


Assessing Soldier and Family Needs

Dr. Carra S. Sims

Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist

The RAND Corporation


Strengthening Soldier and Family Readiness Panel


SGM Rodney J. Rhoades

Senior Enlisted Advisor

United States Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management



CSM Michael A. Grinston

Command Sergeant Major

United States Army Forces Command


CSM David S. Davenport Sr.

Command Sergeant Major

United States Army Training and Doctrine Command


CSM Sheryl D. Lyon

Command Sergeant Major  

United States Army Europe


CSM Christopher Kepner

Command Sergeant Major

Senior Enlisted Advisor-Chief NGB


CSM Ted L. Copeland

Command Sergeant Major

United States Army Reserve Command