First, a big thank you for 35 years of service to our country for Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston! Plus more than seven years serving as the Sergeant Major of the Army for two Army Chiefs of Staff! We have to be thankful for such men and women who are willing to sacrifice, be professionals and represent all of us so well!
This Roundtable was a chance for the sergeant major to talk about his career before retiring on March 1st and sharing some of the highlights, changes and advocacy for the enlisted personnel and their families of the US Army! He was gracious, responsive to questions and thoroughly up to date on Army issues. I enjoyed listening and he provided some key points such as the Army Family Covenant that occurred during his tenure in October 2007. He credited it with improving MWR (morale, welfare, recreation) programs, youth programs, housing and much more! It also helped retention as the Army drew a bull’s-eye on improving family life to retain soldiers.
If you would like to listen to an audio of this heroes’ discussion about the Army and the outstanding performance of its soldiers please go to DoDLive. I also asked him about a controversial piece of news concerning the DoD budget. With the President’s budget proposal now before Congress, one representative from Minnesota challenged the use of Army funds for their NASCAR car. Preston responded that the Army NASCAR team was a tremendous tool for recruiting and gave a positive image to millions of Americans about the Army. He did recognize that Congress does have a right to determine funding and the budget was going to be debated. I also posed the question on MilitaryAvenue’s Facebook page and received several different responses to whether we should retain the team in this time of budget cutting. Some cited its value as a recruitment tool, others said leave the DoD budget alone, one challenged the priority/need and others strongly supported it.
I felt that the congressperson from Minnesota was using the Army budget as a way to counter her frustration over possible cuts to public funding of NPR and other programs she supported. What do you think? Should we fund recruiting tools such as NASCAR? My opinion is that it is an extremely valuable tool and will bring in a future Sergeant Major of the Army to join the ranks! We would love to hear your opinion by commenting on this blog or going to our Facebook page! To see other Roundtable, Budget, Afghanistan and Wounded Warrior blogs from Col K please go to Our Letters to You/Col K.
PS: Godspeed to the Prestons as they join the ranks of the retiree community!
Photo Credit: Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston DoDLive
Photo Credit: Ryan Newman, who drives the number 39 U.S. Army car, was among several drivers to visit wounded warriors during a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center Sept. 23. Photo Credit: CIA Photography