DVIDS – News – First team commander connects with local community

KILLEEN – The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon at Central Texas College on June 7 and hosted Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division, as a guest speaker.

Associations for lunch included the Military Relations Council, Texas A&M – Central Texas, and Fort Hood National Bank. These luncheons are held quarterly and are an opportunity for Army and local community leaders to connect with each other and improve their relationships. After his remarks, Richardson received questions from the audience about future improvements and adjustments that will occur in the division over the next eight years. As well as its two main initiatives which aim to improve relations and build trust between soldiers and leaders.

“These lunches are important to maintaining the connection between the military installation (Fort Hood) and the surrounding community,” said Rebekah Moon, vice president of investor services and member of the GKCC. “It also helps community leaders better understand current events impacting the military and look for ways to help if there is an opportunity.”

Keith Sledd, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, stressed the importance of developing good relationships with soldiers and their families who live off base.

“With about 72 percent of soldiers and families living in communities, they are our neighbors, not just soldiers,” Sledd said. “Communities appreciate their service and the sacrifices they and their families go through on behalf of our communities and our nation.”

Over lunch, Richardson shared some key points about the current state of the 1CD, including some interesting points about the division’s rich history, current schedules, future plans for integrating modern equipment, and adjusting divisional structure to support large-scale combat operations. He went on to point out that 1CD would become the most modern and important division in the US Army.

“What you will see talking about the future of the division is that we are going to be asked to adapt to the current operating environment and change not only our equipment but also our force structure,” said Richardson. “Which will have an impact here in the local area.”

One of the questions posed during his speech was how does the 1st Cavalry Division as a whole implement People First?

“With the People First initiative, we moved people up,” Richardson said, stressing the importance of caring for soldiers and their families. “Then we reduced our priorities, and what we saw was a drastic improvement in morale and confidence among our soldiers.”

An example of building trust and supporting Troopers is the creation of Pegasus Troop. An integration unit intended to welcome the new soldiers and leaders of the division. One major change that has happened thanks to Pegasus Troops is the drastic drop in sexual harassment.

One of Richardson’s major initiatives is to have all soldiers on the first team write a one-page story about their lives. Help leaders get to know their Trooper(s) on a more personal level. Richardson mentioned that leaders have discovered some very unique things about soldiers, such as the leadership style to which they respond. Leaders and subordinates would connect on a more personal level and develop a deeper level of trust.
“If nothing else, soldiers are like ‘Oh, you care enough to ask’ because that’s the thing they didn’t feel like they were being listened to and this generation really wants to be listened to. ” Richardson said as he discussed open communication between frontline supervisors with the friends and families of the soldiers they lead.

Richardson wants to ensure that a positive and caring relationship is established between everyone and that this foundation is just as important to the soldiers as it is to the people in their lives. He noted that the positive feedback from these two initiatives has already been felt throughout the division.

The second initiative allows leaders to call the Trooper’s next of kin. This creates an open line of communication between those tasked with leading soldiers and immediate family members.

“A soldier recently came to me and said, ‘Sir, I want you to know that the best thing you did this week was get our squad leaders to call our parents. It completely changed our relationship.”” Richardson smiled as he remembered the discussion with the Horseman and continued. “‘Sir, just so you know, if the army of the last 3 years had been the army of the last two weeks, I would have re-enlisted.'”

Richardson’s goal is for the division to continue to grow and build a lethal force capable of defending the nation while continuing to develop powerful and positive relationships between soldiers, their families/friends and leaders – a relationship based on trust.

Date taken: 06.09.2022
Date posted: 06.09.2022 20:20
Story ID: 422633
Location: FORT HOOD, TX, USA

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