Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler III was sworn in as the 14th sergeant major of the Army by Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey at the Pentagon auditorium March 3.
Outside the Wire was lucky enough to briefly catch up with Chandler before he could dig into his massive promotion cake with friends and family.
OTW: What has this day been like and what does it mean to be only the 14th soldier to earn this position?
Chandler: The day has been surreal. We’ve spent time with Sgt. Maj. of the Army Preston and went to his ceremony to see his impact on the army, what he has done, and to be able to say: OK it’s now my turn to continue what and so many others have done. It can be a little overwhelming.
OTW: What do you bring to the job?
Chandler: Thing that I bring is that I served in basically all the facets of the Army. The installation, the institutional Army and the operational Army. So being able to have a basic understand of each of those perspectives and what they need to support soldiers and family is probably the best thing I bring to this position.
OTW: What will are some of your priorities in taking the job?
Chandler: The chief of staff of the Army said we’re tired, not broken, but we’re stretched. so we have to be able to take that knowledge and turn it in action supported by the Army … We have to take care of the Army family so this time as we transition out of Iraq and in the forseeable future we’ll be able to increase that bog dwell time which will not only be able to support not only the soldiers but their families. And our army will be able to recover and be able to maintain that combat edge.
OTW: With the last soldiers coming home from Iraq this year what will the Army be like as more soldiers return to the traditional garrison life?
Chandler: Our challenge is always going to be to make training realistic and as relevant as we possibly can. That is hard to do when you have a season force that has been in combat so we’ve really gotta take a hard look at the training aspect of what the institution provides and what units do and reset ourselves so we can sustain those forces.