Gen. James C. McConville, right, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, receives training instructions alongside Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, during a physical training event on Fort Bliss, Texas, July 22. The 1ABCT demonstrated physical readiness as well as new equipment fielding and training during transition from a Stryker to an armored brigade combat team to McConville during his visit to Fort Bliss July 22. | U.S. Army photo by Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus
Presence is a vital component of leadership, so it comes as no surprise that leaders across the Army ensure that they visit, observe and interact with components at every level.
Units across Fort Bliss hosted Gen. James C. McConville, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, during his visit to the installation July 21-22.
McConville received briefs, observed training, and monitored the progress of Soldiers within the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division as they undergo a conversion from a Stryker brigade to an armored brigade.
Soldiers of the Ready First Brigade led circuit-style physical training (PT) with McConville, consisting of comprehensive exercises including: a farmer’s carry with full water cans; fireman’s carry with sandbags; pull-ups and leg tucks; shuttle-run; and hand-release pushups.
“We conducted combat-focused PT with the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, consisting of five stations which lasted five minutes each,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Palomino, the senior enlisted advisor for 1-36 Infantry Regiment. “This training allows us to look more into what our combat-focused PT should be and allows for the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army to see what we’re doing at the battalion level.”
The Soldiers rallied around McConville as he spoke about the importance of remaining physically fit, emphasizing comprehensive soldier fitness as a key aspect to success on and off of the battlefield.
“We are constantly ensuring that our Soldiers are combat prepared and combat trained, and that starts with PT,” said Palomino. “It’s our mission to be ready and able. That’s what the Army asks of us as leaders and Soldiers. It’s important to be vigilant and to remain always ready because you never know when you’re going to have to go fight.”
McConville also observed Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment training at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, a facility which provides simulated combat scenarios to strengthen and maintain operational readiness.
McConville also met with Soldiers from 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, to tour their motor pool and company operations facility. The 6-1 Armor Reg. briefly demonstrated new equipment training and described the new equipment fielding progress to McConville.
“It’s important that the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army sees what 1ABCT has to offer and sees our energy,” said Palomino. “It’s very powerful and motivating to us that the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army visited.”
Throughout his visit, McConville recognized several Soldiers for their excellence, diligence and dedication by presenting challenge coins, distinguishing them in front of their unit.
“Being recognized means a lot to me. I try my hardest to be the best I can be and for me to be recognized from among my peers and receive a coin from a four star general is surreal,” said Pfc. Javonn King, a unit supply specialist assigned to 1-36 IN.
Soldiers from 1ABCT expressed to McConville their inspirations in the Army as well as the culture that surrounds them.
“The leadership around me is great; they inspire me to be better,” said King. “I try to motivate people, always keep a smile on my face, and to know where I came from and how great it is to be in the Army.”
Army leadership doctrine stresses the importance of a leader’s presence, as it serves to provide purpose, direction and motivation to Soldiers.
“McConville’s presence at every location invigorates and energizes our formations,” said Palomino. “It’s important that we see him, as his presence does matter.”