Category Archives: HQ Staff & Faculty

Academy embraces holiday spirit with 12 Days of USASMA

The students and families of Sergeants Major Course Class 64 joined forces with the Staff, Faculty and families of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy to celebrate the holiday season Ultima-style with the 12 Days of USASMA.

The Fort Bliss Bell Choir entertains the USASMA family during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA. The bell choir has been a staple of the Academy’s holidays events for several years and are always well received.
The Fort Bliss Bell Choir entertains the USASMA family during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA. The bell choir has been a staple of the Academy’s holidays events for several years and are always well received.

The annual event began on Dec. 4 with the International Holiday Celebration and tree lighting ceremony which attendees were treated to a musical compilation from the Fort Bliss Hand Bell Choir, and songs of the season from the USASMA Carolers and Word of Life Combined Choir. Attendees also learned a bit of Christmas culture from abroad with presentations of how Christmas is celebrated in Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. Following the opening ceremony Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant, brought everyone outside for the lighting of the Academy’s Christmas Tree.

Surrounded by children, Malloy commenced the countdown and within seconds The 12 Days of USASMA were officially in full gear to include the introduction of Santa with candy canes for the children.

“One of the biggest reasons why we do the 12 Days of USASMA is because one of the most important assets the Army has, and which leads to a lot of our success, is the families,” Malloy said. So when you look at the holiday season, especially around the Christmas events, we leverage the opportunity to do different things for the families. You have the 12 days of Christmas so we just changed it upon a little bit to the 12 days of USASMA and have events so that we could open up a broad window on the calendar for families to come out and participate in various scheduled events as their schedules allowed.”

The Sergeants Major Course Class 64 Carolers entertains the crowd with some Christmas favorites during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA.
The Sergeants Major Course Class 64 Carolers entertains the crowd with some Christmas favorites during opening ceremonies of the 12 Days of USASMA.

Each night from Dec. 4 through Dec. 13, weekend not included, the Academy planned different activities for the families that included pictures with Santa; movie nights with pajama contests, popcorn, hot cocoa; the reading of the “Night before Christmas;” a Magic show; Holiday Treat night featuring foods from around the world; and the Bus tour of Holiday Lights which culminated with a stop at Fred Loya’s holiday of lights spectacular in East El Paso.

“One of our strongest supporters year after year has been Fred Loya and the Christmas light show that he puts on. It really sends a strong message and sets the example for what it means to give,” Malloy said. “He starts setting up his lights in August and it is an absolutely first-class professional event. Then on a Wednesday and Thursday night each year he opens up his home for special sessions for the Sergeants Major Academy and their families. This year we took about eight bus loads of families over to see his light show. Absolutely a first class event and is really one of the highlights of what we do during the 12 days of USASMA. “

The event was the culmination of planning from the entire Academy, Malloy said, and is just another example of Team Ultima and how it does business.

USASMA families get a close up look at the festival of lights on the property of Fred Loya during the Bus Tour of Holiday Lights portion of the 12 Days of USASMA. Each year Fred Loya puts on two special shows exclusively for USASMA and its family members.
USASMA families get a close up look at the festival of lights on the property of Fred Loya during the Bus Tour of Holiday Lights portion of the 12 Days of USASMA. Each year Fred Loya puts on two special shows exclusively for USASMA and its family members.

“Between the entire Academy, each one of them took a portion of the 12 Days of USASMA and worked it. The students of Class 64 did a phenomenal job with the opening ceremonies and all of the events associated with that all the way up to the closing events with the international students lead by the international military student office. The Staff and Faculty directorate as well as the Sergeants Major Course and the Fort Bliss NCO Academy did an amazing job on the 12 Days of USASMA. It was a huge success.”

Military’s top NCO visits USASMA

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses the Sergeants Major Course Class 63 students May 29 at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. His address to the students outlined how he helps the chairman implement his vision and priorities as well as the importance of transition assistance for departing service members.
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses the Sergeants Major Course Class 63 students May 29 at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. His address to the students outlined how he helps the chairman implement his vision and priorities as well as the importance of transition assistance for departing service members.

 

 

By David Crozier, Command Communications

The military’s top enlisted leader spent the morning May 29 talking NCO and transition issues with the students of Sergeants Major Course Class 63 at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, started his presentation to the class by introducing Dr. Susan S. Kelly, Ph.D. the principal director, Transition to Veterans Program Office, whom he said had very important news for the students to hear about transition assistance.

“It is very important for us to get our transition programs right. Part of our job as NCOs is to prepare our [troops] to transition and ensure they reenter society as a productive member,” he said. “Doctor Kelly has been a lead in overhauling our Army Career and Alumni Programs.”

The Department of Defense has developed a curricula for transitioning service members and encompasses responsibilities that include leadership ensuring certain career readiness standards are met, Kelly said. The curricula are also standardized ensuring every service member receives the same transition assistance training.

“This is an entirely new curriculum for transitioning service members that they must complete,” she said. “They just don’t sit through classes either. There is a concrete deliverable that each service member will have to show at the end of the [training] and it is the commander’s responsibility to verify that every service member meets new career readiness standards.”

Dr. Kelly said the standards are basic, but critical to ensuring the military is doing its best to prepare transitioning service members. Some of the requirements include, having a job application or job offer letter; filling out a college application or having an acceptance letter; attending a VA benefits briefing; completing self assessment tools; understanding financial requirements and so forth. Once all of the standards have been met, or a referral for assistance has been made, the leader can sign the new form, DD form 2958, verifying the service member is prepared to transition out.

“Senior NCOs are going to play a pivotal role in this,” she said. “The service members are going to need leadership, guidance and a nudge to get the ball rolling and that nudge is going to come from you.”

Following Dr. Kelly’s presentation, Battaglia addressed the class about his role as the SEAC and how he helps the Chairman implement his four priorities – Achieve our national objectives in current conflicts, Develop Joint Force 2020, Keeping faith with our military family and Renewing our commitment to the Profession of Arms – all with an overarching theme of “Total Commitment to the Total Force.”

Battaglia explained that total force means from the young military child and spouse, to the service member and the service member who is now retired and is 80 years old and has been a lifelong member of the American Legion. “That is the total force,” he said.

Speaking to the priorities, Battaglia said that with sequestration “[The military is] going to have challenges of [its] own with downsizing and we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and get things done to ensure that we remain ready, relevant, trained,  educated, and we can face any American threat or a tasker that our president may direct.”

He added, “It is not the first time we have been here. We got  through it before; we will get through it again. While we make our way through,
we are not going to let readiness drop where we are irrelevant or ineffective. That dog is not going to hunt and the NCO corps, the backbone of our military, plays a vital role in that.”

He also said that the service must bridge back to basics by leveraging the technology of today while ensuring we make today’s generation part of the solution and not the problem.

He closed his presentation to the class asking them to renew their commitment to the profession of arms. He said while each service has their creed – Soldier’s Creed, Sailor’s Creed, Airman’s, My Rifle – the Creed of a United States Marine, etc. – there is one thing everyone has that is the same – the Oath of Enlistment.

“Everyone should know the oath just like your service creed,” he said. “It is the common denominator between all of us and has been around since the late 1700s. It is a very, very powerful paragraph and I use it to renew my commitment to the profession of arms.”

For more information about the new transition assistance program visit http://www.turbotap.org/portal/transition/resources/Stakeholder_General_Public.