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SMA Emphasizes Team, Fundamentals at AUSA 2019

Photo by: 
Mike Morones for AUSA
Monday, October 14, 2019

From fitness and nutrition to mastering the fundamentals, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston wants to empower noncommissioned officers to take care of their soldiers and build cohesive teams.

In remarks Oct. 14 during a forum at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, Grinston called on the audience, many of them NCOs, to focus on an initiative he calls "This is My Squad."

“This is my squad, I don’t let anything happen to my squad,” Grinston said. “It shows ownership, something you’re proud of. This is going to be the driving force.”

That mentality can drive a lot of change as the Army works to combat challenges such as suicide and sexual assault.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do with that,” he said. “I want you to think, ‘This is my squad. What are the positive aspects I can reinforce?’”

During his remarks, Grinston also outlined several of his key initiatives, including a renewed focus on mid-grade NCOs, particularly staff sergeants.

“Staff sergeants are the ones we need to be drill sergeants, to be recruiters, for [security force assistance brigades],” he said. “Almost everything hinges on the staff sergeant.”

This is why Grinston said he’s looking at ways to stabilize these NCOs so they have time to master their craft.

“We’re trying to look at that, so when you go out … you’ve been grounded in the fundamentals of your job,” he said.

Grinston also emphasized the importance of the new Expert Soldier Badge, which tests soldiers on fundamental soldier tasks, the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and the importance of nutrition.

- Michelle Tan for AUSA

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SMA Kenneth O. Preston, ret., attends the Sergeant Major of the Army Forum on the opening day of 2019 AUSA Annual Meting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, 2019.
(Photo by Mike Morones for AUSA)