I continue to be amazed by the courage, commitment and character of the Soldiers and leaders here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Our Soldiers and leaders are the foundation of our success and the reason Task Force Bayonet can conduct its mission to provide trained and ready brigades that are globally responsive, regionally engaged and prepared to deploy, fight and win in support in support of combatant commands.
This week, I would like to highlight a topic that directly relates to building sustainable readiness within our formations — the Total Army Force.
Early in his tenure as Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley recognized we must rely more heavily on our reserve component teammates to meet the demands of a complex global environment, since most of the Army’s capacity resides in the National Guard and Army Reserve. As of Nov. 1, there are approximately 538,000 reserve component Soldiers serving in the Army, as compared to approximately 476,000 active-duty Soldiers.
The world has become, arguably, more uncertain and volatile than ever before, therefore, it is imperative that we draw upon the capabilities, as well as the unique experiences of our teammates in the National Guard and Army Reserve.
Over the past year, the 7th Infantry Division has had the privilege of working more closely with our reserve component teammates here at JBLM. In December 2016, we entered into a partnership with the 81st Brigade of the Washington Army National Guard as part of the Army’s Associated Pilot Program.
The 7th Infantry Division is one of 13 active Army units currently participating in this program.
Furthermore, our subordinate brigades have developed stronger relationships with the 81st Bde., as a result of this partnership.
More recently, we conducted an activation ceremony Nov. 3, in which the division welcomed more than 30 Reservists from various units from the 88th Readiness Support Command, making the division a multicomponent headquarters.
In the end, this all boils down to increased readiness. The Army must prepare the Total Army Force to meet global demands while remaining postured for major contingencies we may face in the future, which must include our Reserve and National Guard teammates.
Throughout our Army’s history, the Army Reserve and National Guard have made vital contributions to the nation’s defense and they will be called upon, once again, to make many more.
Soldiers and leaders in our organizations should recognize we don’t have Army National Guard or Army Reserve stitched on our uniforms. Our uniforms all say we are part of one team — the U.S. Army.
Trust in Me!