ARNG CSM visits Va. Guard recruiters

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Recruiting and Retention Battalion provide Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, Command Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard, with a briefing and demonstration of the newly-implemented Retention Management Software Nov. 20, 2013, at the Fredericksburg Armory. Virginia is the first of the 54 states and territories to implement the new system statewide and aims to streamline and simplify the reenlistment and extension process for Soldiers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Recruiting and Retention Battalion provide Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, Command Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard, with a briefing and demonstration of the newly-implemented Retention Management Software Nov. 20, 2013, at the Fredericksburg Armory. Virginia is the first of the 54 states and territories to implement the new system statewide and aims to streamline and simplify the reenlistment and extension process for Soldiers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, Command Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard, visited the Fredericksburg Armory Nov. 20, 2013, to visit Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

Conley first talked to the Soldiers about the changes he had seen among recruiters during his time as a senior leader, both in his home state of Oregon, and at the National Guard Bureau level.

“I saw the difference in our recruiting force,” Conley said. “They no longer were salesmen only, they also now were leaders.

The primary focus of Conley’s visit was to learn about the newly-implemented Retention Management Software, a system designed to simplify the extension process for Soldiers. Conley received both a briefing on the system as well as a demonstration of its capabilities. While other states have tested the system at the battalion-level, Virginia is the first of the 54 states and territories to implement the program statewide.

“I think it really streamlines the process of what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joe Corriveau. “And by the same token, it also allows us to see a window of when these Soldiers are hitting their ETS window.”

The software allows for easy tracking of Soldiers nearing the end of their enlistment periods, allowing unit and state leaders to monitor the process and ensure that, as Soldiers near the end of their enlistment, they are being properly counseled on their options for extending their enlistment.

The system also acts as a one-stop-shop and includes everything leaders need to complete an extension, including information about the Soldier and the required forms.

“Everything is right here,” Corriveau said of the new software. “We can counsel the Soldiers and effectively manage them better than we could with the old retention binders.”

As part of the demonstration, Sgt. Jason Grubbs extended for three years in front of Conley, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Green, the senior enlisted leader for the Virginia National Guard, and several of the recruiters. Conley presented both Grubbs and his fiancée with a coin as a thank you for their service.

Prior to his departure, Conley took time to express to the Soldiers his thanks for their presentation as well as to hit on some important messages of his own.

“The first thing is sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Conley. “What we need to do is change from a bystander mentality to stepping in. When something doesn’t look right, it’s not right.”

Conley also discussed suicide rates across the armed forces and the retention challenges that arise in a changing National Guard.

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Photos: ARNG CSM visits Virginia Guard recruiters