note: This article is the first of a
series that will examine the 16 focus areas outlined by Army
Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker.)
While inculcating the Warrior ethos into all Soldiers of both
the active and reserve components is one of their top priorities, so
is ensuring that all deploying members of the Army team are properly
trained and equipped, according to members of a Fort Benning task
TF Soldier, a subordinate organization of Fort Benning's
Infantry Center, has been charged by the chief of staff of the Army to
analyze Soldier training, equipment and readiness needs for fighting
the global war on terrorism and coordinate with other Army
organizations to implement programs and policies to meet those needs.
"The Soldier" is one of the focus areas the Army will
be directing its resources toward in a systematic and deliberate way
in coming years," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J.
Schoomaker during October's Association of the U.S. Army annual
The Warrior Ethos Statement contained within the new Soldier's
Creed -- "I will always place the mission first. I will never
accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen
comrade." -- is a key aspect of The Soldier focus area, said
Brig. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, chief of Infantry and Fort Benning's
"This is about shifting the mindset of Soldiers from
identifying what they do as a Soldier - 'I'm a cook, I'm an
infantryman, I'm a postal clerk' -- toward 'I am a Warrior' when
people ask what they do for a living," Freakley said.
The Soldier's Creed helps Soldiers understand that, despite
very diverse backgrounds, all Soldiers are warriors and members of a
team, Freakley said. The creed is also about changing the Army
culture, by encouraging it to examine its beliefs from a warrior's
perspective and checking that the Army produces and retains Soldiers
of value to the nation, he said.
While Freakley said he had a hand in helping to develop the
warrior ethos and Soldier's Creed, he credited the work of dozens of
others, including a warrior ethos task force created by former Army
Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki that recommended valuable
background information in developing the Soldier's Creed.
"The Soldier's Creed training is being implemented
throughout the Army, including recommissioning instruction, basic
training and officer basic courses," said Lt. Col. Peri Anest, TF
Soldier operations officer. Schoomaker includes instruction on the
Soldier's Creed when he talks to each pre-command course for officers
preparing to take battalion, brigade or higher commands, Anest said.
TF Soldier is helping to ensure that needed clothing and
equipment for deploying Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians
are issued in a timely manner. Those items include things like
moisture wicking undergarments that help prevent chafing in a desert
environment, wraparound sunglasses and hydration systems.
the past, Soldiers would have to go off post and buy things like this
off the shelf from a commercial vender," Anest said. "Under
the Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI), we are working with PEO (Program
Executive Officer) Soldier to identify clothing and equipment not
normally in the Army system and get it into the system. Ideally, these
items will become part of a Soldier's basic issue that he carries with
him from post to post during his career
- similar to what the Special Forces Soldiers do today with
much of their gear -- but that will be an issue for the Army Clothing
Board to decide."
While much of the new equipment is getting to deploying active,
Reserve and National Guard units prior to their departure from home
station, some of it may be issued weeks or even months after those
units arrive in theater.
"I have to warn you about raising false
expectations," said Brad Tesch, a TF Soldier operations
specialist. "We have a variety of venders with different
production lines producing at varying speeds. That means we are
playing catch up with some of the items."
"Until enough of the RFI equipment is produced to field it
to all Soldiers in the Army, TF Soldier and PEO Soldier are working
with (Headquarters, Department of the Army) G-3 to prioritize which
units get the equipment first and when," Anest said.
"Other TF Soldier efforts include identifying 40
individual and 10 collective warrior tasks in which all Soldiers will
remain proficient. Those tasks include react to a grenade attack,
evacuate a wounded or injured Soldier, avoid an ambush and conduct a
convoy operation. (Training and Doctrine Command) is currently working
to ensure the tasks are included in enlisted and officer initial entry
training courses," Anest said.
For more information on TF Soldier, visit http://www.infantry.army.mil/taskforcesoldier.
note: While this article focused on The Soldier, other focus areas
include: The Bench; Combat Training Centers/Battle Command Training
Program; Leader Development and Education; Army Aviation; Current to
Future Force; The Network; Modularity; Active Component/Reserve
Component Balance; Force Stabilization; Actionable Intelligence;
Installations as Flagships; Authorities, Responsibilities, and
Accountability; Resource Processes; and Strategic Communications.)