August 10, 2015 – JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri National Guard had the privilege of hosting U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a recent tour of the Midwest, meeting with enlisted personnel from all branches of service, in an effort to gauge issues that service members may be dealing with, as well as offer counsel and guidance to issues facing leadership today.
After his visit to the Kansas National Guard, Battaglia visited troops at military installations around Missouri, including the Ike Skelton Training Site, where he was hosted by Command Sgt. Maj. William Pierce, the state command sergeant major and Command Chief Master Sgt. Joe Sluder, the state command chief master sergeant.
Since 2011, Battaglia has served as the principal military advisor to the Chairman and the Secretary of Defense of all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force and joint development for enlisted personnel.
While there, Battaglia was able to meet with leadership and continue the ongoing partnership with senior enlisted advisors across the armed forces.
Both Sluder and Pierce talked about the importance of that partnership.
“It is important for us as leaders to come together to discuss issues and to learn from each other so at the end of the day we can make the best suggestions and courses of actions for our Soldiers,” Pierce said.
Battaglia also held a town hall, where he commended Missouri as one of the top states in the National Guard, and took questions from Soldiers.
“The work you all have done, both deployed and at home, is outstanding,” he said to the troops seated in a packed auditorium. “It is no surprise that the retention and recruiting numbers are so high, with the great people in this organization.”
Sluder talked about the significance of the SEAC’s visit for young enlisted personnel.
“As young enlisted Soldiers and Airmen, I am sure they appreciated the opportunity to talk directly with someone as important as the SEAC,” said Sluder. “It provided a great opportunity for them to ask questions and get answers directly from the source. He is a very personable man and excellent role model for them and myself included.”
Battaglia shares a special connection with ISTS, after meeting (then) U.S. House of Representative Ike Skelton in person while on deployment to Iraq.
“I always admired him and had a deep respect for him because he wanted to get out there and really see what was going on,” Battaglia said. “He took an active interest and cared about the troops and the mission going on. It was a moment that I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
The SEAC then boarded a Black Hawk and flew to Whiteman Air Force Base, where he met with Airmen from the 131st Bomb Wing and 139th Airlift Wing, and got a chance to take an extensive tour of the B-2 Bomber facilities.
Battaglia was briefed on total force integration success as Air National Guard Airmen and active duty Air Force come together to work and train personnel on the maintenance and repair of the B-2 Bomber.
He also fielded questions and recognized a handful of outstanding Airmen for their service.
After a brief stop at Fort Leonard Wood, where he met with active duty personnel, Battaglia traveled to Springfield, where he spent time with the 1107th Aviation Group.
While there, he learned about the unit’s importance to the state of Missouri’s aviation assets, but also the Midwest region as a whole.
“I am very impressed with the capabilities and their contribution to the fighting force,” he said. “People in this country can feel safer when we have Soldiers like this working on our aircraft and maintaining our aviation assets.”
Although it was a brief, fast-paced trip across a half dozen Missouri Guard facilities, Battaglia walked away impressed.
“The Missouri National Guard is one of the best states when it comes to overall readiness and retention of its Soldiers and Airmen,” Battaglia said. “The proof is in the work they have done both at home and overseas, and the consistency at which they do it. You all have continued to show how important the National Guard is to the armed services.”
From Missouri, Battaglia continued his tour and visited military and civilian communities at Fort Leavenworth, along with Veterans Affairs facilities, before returning to his post in Washington, D.C.