Facilities visits help senior enlisted leader monitor readiness

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, speaks with full-time Soldiers from Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment during a visit to Camp Pendleton Dec. 13, 2013. As the eyes and ears of the Adjutant General of Virginia, Green makes a point to visit each Virginia Guard facility and readiness center across the state to gauge their level of readiness. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, speaks with full-time Soldiers from Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment during a visit to Camp Pendleton Dec. 13, 2013. As the eyes and ears of the Adjutant General of Virginia, Green makes a point to visit each Virginia Guard facility and readiness center across the state to gauge their level of readiness. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. – According to his job description, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, serves as the eyes and ears of the Adjutant General of Virginia. As part of those duties, Green visits each Virginia Guard facility and readiness center across the state to find out what issues may be impacting their readiness and to make sure Soldiers and Airmen are maintaining standards.

Since assuming his position in July 2011, Green has made it a point to visit each facility in the Virginia Guard. The visits not only give him a chance to meet with the Soldiers and Airmen and inspect the facilities, but it also provides the full-time staff with the opportunity to bring any major issues to Green’s attention.

He’s visited most of the Virginia Guard’s facilities at least twice and met with training and readiness noncommissioned officers to make sure they understand the AG’s vision, roles, responsibilities, mission goals and objectives. To help with this, Green has developed a checklist with more than 40 different categories covering everything from awards to NCOERs to lockers to hand receipts.

“I continue to go out and ask the full-time staff what I should ask them about,” he said. “I’m always adding things to the list that we all find important.”

Staff Sgt. Bryan Beckett (center) and Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Mitchell (right) show Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, the motor pool for Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment Dec. 13, 2013, at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Bryan Beckett (center) and Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Mitchell (right) show Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, the motor pool for Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment Dec. 13, 2013, at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

One of the primary topics he asks about during his visits is the AG’s vision.

“We look at the AG’s vision and how they are communicating that to the Soldiers and Airmen. Are they getting the support they need? I ask them, ‘How are you getting the TAG’s message out? What can you do at the unit level?’

“We are trying to get them to understand the AG’s vision from the strategic level down to the individual Airmen or Soldier in the Guard,” Green said.

When it comes to the facilities themselves, Green wants to know not just about the cleanliness of the building, but about the status of the heating and cooling system, if appropriate signage is posted, if hand receipts are being used for equipment, and if there are lockers available for service members.

“The AG wants to make sure the roofs aren’t leaking, the HVAC is working, they have modern, efficient energy, and the wiring infrastructure for computers is up to date,” Green said. “We’ve made a lot of energy upgrades and we also want to make sure the facilities are maintained properly and in top condition.”

Green also looks at how the unit is handling key training issues. He discusses weapons qualification, Army Physical Fitness Tests, Air Force Physical Readiness Tests, weight control and mandatory yearly briefings. They also look to see that Soldiers are up on their Soldier skills and are trained in their military occupation specialty, while the Airmen are up to date on their Airmen tasks and trained in their Air Force Specialty Code.

The staff also updates him on communication in the unit and where they stand on counseling and noncommissioned officer evaluation reports. Some of the other topics covered are awards, retention, recruiting, and interaction with the local community and outside professional organizations.

“Some issues come up that the AG needs to be aware of and some things come up that I contact the chain of command about and give them a chance to fix it,” Green said. “But 95 percent of the time it’s been a big improvement from my last visit.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green (center), the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, insects the arms room for Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment Dec. 13, 2013, at Fort Pickett. Since assuming his position in July 2011, Green has made it a point to visit each facility in the Virginia Guard. The visits not only give him a chance to meet with the Soldiers and Airmen and inspect the facilities, but it also provides the full time staff with the opportunity to bring any major issues to Green’s attention. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green (center), the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, insects the arms room for Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment Dec. 13, 2013, at Fort Pickett. Since assuming his position in July 2011, Green has made it a point to visit each facility in the Virginia Guard. The visits not only give him a chance to meet with the Soldiers and Airmen and inspect the facilities, but it also provides the full time staff with the opportunity to bring any major issues to Green’s attention. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Sometimes Green is on the ground for three hours, speaking with the full-time staff and examining their facility. After his visit, he sends a letter to the commanders which, “discusses what I found, what support they might need, and what improvements need to be made.”

“People have realized the AG and I want to make sure they have a good place to work,” he said. “We personally care about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.”

Green recently visited Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, located at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach.

“All in all, I think it was a good visit,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cameron Mitchell, the full-time readiness NCO. “Other than a couple items, I felt really good to know as a unit that we’re on the right track and doing what’s expected of us.”

Mitchell has been assigned to Troop C since 2010 and was there the last time Green visited, just after the unit moved down the road from the Sands Armory to its current building on Camp Pendleton.

“It’s come a long ways since we first moved here and we really wanted to show him that,” Mitchell said. “Camp Pendleton has done a lot of work on the facilities for us here and we’ve put a lot of work in too.”

One thing the full-time staff realized from Green’s visit was the need to put together a continuity book to hold all the information currently stored in their heads.

“We know who to call for stuff and where to go but we really need to put it in a book for our replacements or in case something happens to us,” said Staff Sgt. Bryan Beckett, the full-time supply sergeant, who just joined the unit in July. “You also need it for your Soldiers on drill weekends so they know where to go and who to contact for things.”

“I think we’re meeting the majority of his expectations,” Mitchell said. “I felt pretty good when I saw the checklist and saw that we were meeting the intent of what the state wants from us. You always want to where you stand and we’re on the right track. We’ll be even more ready for his next visit.”