The California State Fair, a tradition in the Golden State since 1854, honored the U.S. Military with Military Appreciation Day Thursday July 18.
The featured speaker was Command Sergeant Major Timothy A. Guden, a senior leader at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia. Guden is the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) senior noncommissioned officer.
During his speech, Guden said 50 percent of youth admit they know little to nothing about military service, yet 79 percent of the recruits have a relative who served. However, 71 percent of youth do not qualify for military service because of obesity, drugs, physical and mental health problems, misconduct, and aptitude, according to the Army.
Guden’s combat deployments include four tours in Iraq, one tour in Afghanistan and one tour in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Command Sergeant Major Guden, has an impressive resume, has seen combat in many parts of the world, but what is his current job, and what do the acronyms stand for?
TRADOC, Army Training and Doctrine Command, is an organization to design, develop, and build the Army. TRADOC is charged with overseeing training of Army forces and the development of operational doctrine. TRADOC operates 37 schools and centers at 27 different locations. TRADOC schools conduct 1,304 courses and 108 language courses.
The official mission statement for TRADOC states: Training and Doctrine Command develops, educates and trains Soldiers, civilians, and leaders; supports unit training; and designs, builds and integrates a versatile mix of capabilities, formations, and equipment to strengthen the U.S. Army as America’s Force of Decisive Action.
Guden explained that previous Army doctrine did not emphasize cultivating leadership training until a soldier was already moving up in ranks. Additionally, Guden said physical fitness was mostly treated as a test recruits had to pass before being considered. Today, Guden and the Army have made both physical fitness and leadership training a priority from the first day a recruit begins Army life.
Guden said the Department of Defense in recent years made recruitment a priority. The Army recruits in all 50 states and even in Europe where dependents of military stationed overseas live.
Last year the Army’s recruiting fell short of the goal, but the Army’s acting secretary is hopeful that the service will meet its goals for 2019, Army Times reported. However, Guden said without being overconfident, their recruiting goals for 2019 look very strong. Recruiting is now up in 18 of the 22 focus cities,
The overall goal is to grow to a 500,000-strong active-duty force by 2030 Guden said. And they are well on the way with approximately 476,000 Regular Army.
The Army reports:
FISCAL YEAR 2018 OVERVIEW
Regular Army (RA): 69,972 (91.5% of 76,500 goal)
Army Reserve (AR): 11,327 (72.8% of 15,600 goal)
Special Operations Recruiting Battalion: 4,137 (72% of 4,137 goal)
Warrant Officers: 1,690 (140% of 1,206 goal)
Medical Mission: 1701 (94.2% of 1805 goal)
Chaplains: 303 (101% of 299 goal)
Command Sergeant Major Timothy A. Guden explained that the Army has experienced recruiting boons, most recently following the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks against the United States, but in recent years recruiting had gone flat. Additionally, Guden said in more recent years, high rates of obesity, the lack of a high school diploma, mental health issues, and even criminal records have prevented many from being recruited.
“The last 18 years the U.S. saw a lot of combat,” Guden said. “Yet recruiting is still tied to patriotism, and people who sincerely desire to be a part of an important team.” He explained that less than 1 percent of the U.S. population is in the military. And of the primary recruiting age of 18-24 year olds, only 29 percent are even eligible because of the issues listed above.
One of the important changes Guden said, is the new fitness test. “A good fitness regime is a lifestyle mindset,” Guden said. “We need it started at the earliest levels for an overall holistic health regime, 24/7. We even encourage new recruits to be as fit as they possibly can be before the come in.”
“Last year, when the Army rolled out its Distributed Leader Course, the replacement for the much maligned Structured Self-Development, TRADOC also created a list of six leader core competencies as a reference touchstone through an NCO’s development,” Army Times reported.
Command Sergeant Major Guden has served two year-long overseas assignments in both Korea and Panama. His stateside assignments include Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort McNair, Washington D.C., and West Point, New York. He spent two years at West Point as the Command Sergeant Major to the Superintendent (Lieutenant General) and the U.S. Military Academy which includes the Unites States Corps of Cadets (Commandant), the Academic Department (Dean) and the entire West Point Community.
In addition to his combat deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Command Sergeant Major Guden has attended the Battle Staff Course, the First Sergeant Course, and the Drill Sergeant Course along with all levels of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System.
Guden’s awards and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation, the Valorous Unit Award (with two oak leaf clusters), the Meritorious Unit Award (with one oak leaf cluster), the Army Superior Unit Award, both the Combat and Expert Infantryman Badges, and the Ranger Tab.
Notably, nearly 50 percent of Regular Army and Army Reserve recruits come from the following eight states:
North Carolina (4.8%)
New York (3.6%)