Page 1




“First in Training”


Vol 42.1 Spring 2018

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 3

From the Commanding General

By Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen Commanding General 108th Training Command (IET)

One of the hallmarks of exceptional organizations is that it learns, grows, refines and develops itself over time.This is certainly the case for the United States Army. Over the past 233 years, the role and purpose of the Army has not changed. It is still the force which was established by our founding fathers to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, to secure the Nation. However, what has changed is how the Army accomplishes its purpose. Over the centuries, many outside factors have changed that have served to make our Army better. Specifically, we have seen significant changes in our doctrine, organizations, training, material, leadership and education, personnel and facilities (DOTMLPF). Within our leadership ranks, and in particular our Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, we have witnessed significant changes in the role and purpose of the Command Sergeant Major.The following is a summary drawn from one of the best reads available regarding the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps; The NCO Guide by CSM(R) Daniel Elder. In my estimation it is a must read for all enlisted personnel who aspire to be a professional, committed and competent leader. When Frederick von Steuben assisted General George Washington on the initial design of the Army in 1774, the role of the Sergeant Major was one which principally served as an extension of the Adjutant.As noted by Elder, the role of the Sergeant Major was “that the Sergeant Major was at the head of the noncommissioned officers for his Regiment.Von Steuben noted that he should be well acquainted with the disciple of the regiment, keeping rosters, forming details and every other business of the adjutant.” Over the succeeding years, the role of the Sergeant Major evolved from an administrative role to principle instructor to the sergeants and corporals, to a conveyor of

orders throughout unit formations. After World War I, in a Congressional cost savings measure, the ranks of Master Sergeant and Sergeant Major were deleted from our Army’s enlisted ranks. It would be nearly 40 years later in the late 1950’s before the ranks of E8 and E9 would be reinstated.As the NCO Corps pursued more professionalization while the Army was engaged in combat operations in Vietnam, the position of Sergeant Major of the Army was established as well as the Command Sergeant Major program. Certainly, the Army experienced growing pains through the 1970s and 1980s where the role of the Command Sergeant Major was both controversial and being further refined. It wasn’t until 1990 that the role of the Command Sergeant Major and Sergeant Major were finally codified in Army publications. It was a result of the efforts of the Leader Development Task Force that helped truly define the core competencies of the Command Sergeant Major as “Be, Know, Do.” Meat was put to bones on the core competencies during the crucible of combat during Desert Storm. CSM(R) Elder reveals that combat hardened Commanders had multiple comments on the effectiveness of Command Sergeant Majors and their being all over the area of operations, de-conflicting administrative and logistical problem sets, ensuring Soldiers were trained and ready for combat.The following is a summary Elder ultimately assessed as the five emerging functions of the Command Sergeant Major: 1. E  nsuring understanding of the Commander’s intent throughout the formation. 2. B  attle Field Circulation. 3. E  nforcing discipline and standards. 4. E  mploying the NCO support chain to help solve Soldier

problems. 5. C  ommunicate Soldier feedback to the Commander and staff. So why the history lesson? Why wax on about the role of the Command Sergeant Major? Because, this will be the last issue of the 108th Training Command’s Griffon with Command Sergeant Major Robert Riti serving as the 108th Training Command’s Command Sergeant Major. CSM Riti has served the Command as a shining example of what right looks like. He epitomizes and personifies the core attributes of “Be, Know, Do”. CSM Riti has spent 20 of his 40 year distinguished career in the position of Command Sergeant Major having served at every level from Battalion through his current position as a nominative two-star level command CSM. Moreover, he has served as Command Sergeant Major in both CONUS and deployed environments. Indeed, over the past two decades, CSM Riti contributed greatly to the defining of the position of Command Sergeant Major. Throughout my career, I have had the distinct pleasure of serving with a number of Command Sergeant Majors; all excellent in their own right. But, as I’m sure you will agree, there is no one better than CSM Riti. I could not have asked for a better Battle Buddy with whom I would have the privilege of commanding alongside me at the 108th. CSM Riti was my trusted senior enlisted advisor. He was always close when I was faced with making difficult decisions affecting the Command, its Soldiers, Families and Civilians. I could always trust he would give me the unvarnished truth for which I was always grateful. Further, he actively communicated my intent on achieving Command readiness through leader development. He

maintained his personal fitness, discipline and deployable status ready to take a PT test any day and was green in every readiness indicator. CSM Riti is a professional, trained and proficient in his warrior tasks and battle drills as evidenced by his achievement and wearing of the Combat Infantry Badge. His commitment to excellence and care for Soldiers and leaders as he worked through the NCO support chain to solve problems will serve as a lasting legacy for others to emulate. His impact and investment in others truly will be realized for decades to come. Honorable and humble, CSM Riti leads from the front as America’s Drill Sergeant! This We’ll Defend! In sum, Command Sergeant Major Riti embodies and lives the Soldier’s Creed and Army values daily. It has been said,“old Soldiers never die, they just fade away.” Leaders come and go, but the Army keeps rolling along. Command Sergeant Major Riti has my highest respect and admiration as he culminates a career full of distinction upholding the highest traditions of the U.S. Army. He is a SOLDIER FOR LIFE. I am an American Soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment, myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am the guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.



“First in Training”

Drill Sergeant candidates from across the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) gathered at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for Operation Hat Press, an intensive training program developed at the 95th Training Division (Basic Combat Training) to prepare candidates prior to Drill Sergeant Academy attendance. This is the first combined class with candidates and instructors from across the 108th Training Command (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield/released)

108th Training Command (IET)

95th Training Division (IET)

Commanding General Maj. Gen. Mark T. McQueen

Commander Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford

Command Sgt. Maj. Command Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Riti

Command Sgt. Maj. Command Sgt. Maj. John Stumph

Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen Mark E. Black

Public Affairs Officer Capt. Adrienne Bryant

Command Chief Warrant Officer Chief Warrant Officer 5 Edward Salazar


Chief of Staff

98th Training Division (IET)

Col. Edward H. Merrigan, Jr.

Commanding General Brig. Gen. Miles Davis

Command Executive Officer Mr. Charles E. Fairbanks

108th Training Command Public Affairs (IET) Public Affairs Officer Maj. Lawrence Carmack Email:

Public Affairs NCOIC Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M Litchfield

Public Affairs NCOIC (vacant)

Command Sgt. Maj. Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Priest Public Affairs Officer Maj. Michelle A. Lunato Email: or

Public Affairs NCOIC (vacant)


104th Training Division (LT)

Public Affairs Specialist Spec. Tynisha Daniel

Commanding General Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Edwards II


Command Sgt. Maj. Command Sgt. Maj. Peter T. Trotter

About the Cover: Drill Sergeants from the 1-389th Regiment , 98th Training Division were instrumental in the execution of the 1st Mission Support Command Best Warrior Competition in March. This competition, enhancing the readiness of USAR Soldiers, is the first major training event on Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit approximately six months ago.

Public Affairs Officer Mrs. Kelly Countryman (Interim) Email:

Public Affairs NCOIC (vacant)

The Griffon is published four times a year and is an authorized publication for members of the Army. Contents of The Griffon are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Army, or the 108th Training Command (IET). The appearance of advertising in this publication, including supplements and inserts, does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the Department of the Army or Knight Communications, Inc. of the products or services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication must be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to the race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, use or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. The Griffon is an unofficial publication authorized by AR360-1. Editorial content is prepared, edited, and provided by the Public Affairs Office of the 108th Training Command (IET). The Griffon is published by Knight Communications, Inc., 10150 Mallard Creek Road, Suite 201, Charlotte, NC, 28262 — a private firm in no way connected with the Department of the Army, under exclusive written contract with the 108th Training Command (IET). Material for publication may be submitted to: PAO, 1330 Westover Street, Charlotte, NC 28205-5124.

To coordinate news coverage, contact the 108th Training Command Public Affairs Office - 704-227-2829 Deadlines: Summer: June 1st 2018 ­— Fall: August 31, 2018

108th Training Command (IET) • Charlotte, NC Vol. 42, No. 1 Spring 2018

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 5

From the Command Sergeant Major

By Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Riti 108th Training Command (IET)

Until I retire and even after that, I will continue to stress the importance of Soldiers getting their Professional Military Education (PME) completed as well as being Duty MOS Qualified (DMOSQ). Soldiers continue to complain about the difficulties of not being able to get into BLC,ALC and SLC but the truth of the matter is many only want to go to school when it’s convenient for them.You can’t afford to pick and choose when it’s the ‘right time’. Every military school I attended, I was told when I’m going and that was the end of the conversation! It’s

imperative that you are completely trained in both your duty MOS and in your leadership courses especially in these times when we can be involved in another conflict at any moment. Training is the key to success and if leaders, CSMs, 1SGs, and commanders are not encouraging and making their Soldiers attend the necessary level of PME they require, then they failed the Soldier.To ensure Soldiers understand the importance of PME, I will be conducting mentoring sessions with Soldiers as much as possible. Recently I spoke with a group of E-5s and E-4s and inquired about their PME.The excuses I heard weren’t new to me, but as I had my staff look into these issues, I’m finding out what I already knew. Soldiers are procrastinating, waiting for that right time, or not in compliance with AR 600-9 or just can’t pass the APFT. My battle buddy MG McQueen says it all the time, being a Soldier in the US Army is not a right, but it’s a privilege.You should be proud to wear this uniform and putting it on is just a part of it.You need to look like a professional and you must present a professional image at all times.The image you project should be one that others want to emulate.There are some that let themselves ‘go’ and they also come up with the same old excuses which I’ve heard a million times. Bottom line is we find excuses for

everything. Start being accountable for your actions and start taking ownership of the things you know you’re responsible for.The things that are in your lane.As a young Corporal, I had the honor of having a Squad Leader by the name of SSG William Atkins guide me and mentor me. If I made a mistake, he was there to explain what I did wrong and how to correct it. Back then a Soldier’s proficiency was tested by what was known as a Skill Qualification Tests (SQT). If even one of the members of our squad received a NOGO in any area, he held me accountable and said it was because I failed to ensure they knew the task, condition and standard and how to execute to meet the standard. Leaders must start doing a better job at mentoring and training their Soldiers.They need to take a personal interest in every one of the Soldiers they are responsible for and ensure they’re doing everything to make that Soldier successful. I was asked during a recent Town Hall ‘what are we doing about Drill SGTs that have been in the unit for fifteen years’? This is another area where I feel we aren’t doing a good job and that’s initial and periodic counseling.At the beginning of every NCOs rating period, we should be conducting an Initial Counseling.That counseling should consist of what is expected of that NCO as far as duties,

responsibilities and expectations. It should also serve to map out the rated NCOs career path, their next level of PME, additional duties, and even preparing them for areas of greater responsibility. If a DS or any Soldier is in the same unit for fifteen years, that’s an indication he or she hasn’t been properly counseled or mentored. Quarterly counseling informs the NCO if they’re meeting the rater’s expectations. If a Soldier or an NCO isn’t given objectives to achieve, they’ll continue to do the same thing they have always done. While speaking at a pre-command course, someone said they have no time to do training because of all the mandatory class room training and on line training that is required.That’s the furthest thing from the truth. If you manage your training schedule properly, there’s enough time to do more than you think. I can’t tell you how many times I walked into a unit unannounced and found Soldiers sitting around doing nothing. Start challenging your NCOs, giving lower ranking Soldiers tasks and assignments and making every one accountable for the things that are expected of them when they put this uniform on. I realize it appears we’re constantly asked to do more and more, but it’s because we’re Soldiers and there’s nothing we can’t do.

6 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018


Columns 3 From the Commanding General

27 From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander

5 From the Command Sergeant Major

28 From the 98th Training Division (IET)

26 From the 104th Training Division (LT)




7 Role models for life 8 Drill Sergeant Academy Graduation 10 Command Sgt. Maj. Retires After 40 Years of Service

12 Marksmanship team shares Army experience with All-American Bowl guests

14 Why I joined the Army... 15 Army Reserve Soldiers advance skills though competition

18 The Lunch Bunch 20 2018 CIAA: Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

22 Bent not broken


29 Strong will fuels female Soldier toward new path

36 1-389th Change of Command

33 Learning From the Best

38 Army Reserve first sergeant associates new CEO

34 Drill Sergeant named hospital CEO

position with lessons learned from drill sergeant duty


40 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division Wins DoD Reserve Family Readiness Award

42 Family Readiness gives back to volunteers 44 Around the Command 45 8th annual golf

tournament Sept. 24th 2018

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 7

Role models for life By Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Row upon row of crisp campaign hats sit stacked onstage at the post theatre and the Army’s newest drill sergeants sit at the position of attention waiting to be presented with this iconic symbol of authority during the graduation ceremonies on December 6. The opportunity to wear the drill sergeant hat is earned and not given. The U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, located at Fort Jackson, accepts only the most qualified Non-Commissioned Officers, and this month hosted its largest ever primarily Army Reserve class. The ceremony took place in the presence of family, friends, and supporters of the Drill Sergeants and remarks where given by Commandant, Command Sgt. Major Michael L. Berr, and guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj Jamie K. Price, CSM 101st Airborne (Air Assault) HHBN. Following the remarks was the long awaited presentation of campaign hats. Once presented with their brown rounds, the Drill Sergeants proudly recited the Drill Sergeant Creed, and enthusiastically marched around the interior perimeter of the theater prior to gathering outside to greet their guests. Deservingly, these high-speed Soldiers will go on to instruct and train the future of the Army. Achieving the title of Drill Sergeant isn’t an easy task. The academy relentlessly drills the core curriculum of Basic Combat Training in order to develop training experts to lead the BCT recruits. NCOs elected to attend the grueling 9-week course receive preeminent training from Drill Sergeant Instructors. Drill Sergeant candidates spend hours inside and outside of the classroom, receive hands on training in physical training, drill and ceremony, marksmanship fundamentals as well as other subjects. Drill Sergeants are responsible for the coaching, counseling, and mentoring of Soldiers, and teach new recruits every aspect of Basic Combat Training using talk-through and by-the-numbers instruction methods learned at the academy. As a Drill Sergeant Instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Kaid William Lacroix serves as a role model to those who intend to become role models to future leaders in the Army. “Our biggest challenge for this class was that the Soldiers were young and there was a maturity

level there, but by the end of the course it was on point and everyone did what they had to do, ” said Lacroix. Drill Sergeant candidates must hold the rank of E-5 through E-7, sergeants must have at least one year time in grade, at least four years of active federal service and be a Basic Leader Course graduate. Often times drill sergeant candidates may be young NCOs, but their dedication and discipline allows for molding them into drill sergeant instructors and is a primary focus of the academy’s mission. Designed to be a primarily Reserve class, Class 001-18 included a number of Soldiers from the 108th Training Command (IET) and the cadre was pleased with the work ethic of the Soldiers they trained. “The Reserve Soldiers are like sponges when putting out information, they take it all in, they want to be here” said Lacroix. For most candidates, earning the title of Drill Sergeant is a dream come true, and they are incredibly proud to be a part of the indoctrination of the new recruits aspiring to be in America’s Army. Across the board, candidates and instructors alike expressed this a responsibility and challenge worth taking. “My favorite part about being drill sergeant leader is that I get to effect change for the Soldiers” said Lacroix. Only 10 percent of America’s Army have the great responsibility of shaping civilians into the best Soldiers in the world. “I came into the Army 14 years ago with bad habits, but I was led by example and now I get to do the same with new future leaders,” said Lacroix. We have diverse amount of knowledge coming from all walks of life in the Army, we get to teach them (the candidates) and they will go on to spread the knowledge to future troops explained Lacroix. “That’s the biggest benefit,” he added. A drill sergeant is a symbol of excellence in initial entry training, an expert in all warrior tasks and battle drills, lives the Army values, exemplifies the warrior ethos, and most importantly- is the epitome of the Army as a profession. To learn more about becoming a drill sergeant with the Army Reserve contact the 108th Training Command (IET), Charlotte, N.C., or visit the Army Reserve Drill Sergeant Recruiting 108th Training Command (IET) page on Facebook at https://www.facebook. com/108thDSRecruiting/.

The Name They Will Never Forget The Army offers a near infinite number of career paths to the few citizen-volunteers that qualify to serve. The Surgeons at Walter Reed, tank mechanics at Ft. Hood, and Special Forces operators around the world have one thing in common; they all remember the name of their Drill Sergeant. Without hesitation, they will recall not just the name, but tell you a story about their most memorable Drill Sergeant. Only the top 10 percent of NonCommissioned Officers in the Army are selected to attend the United States Army Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, S.C. Of those, even fewer will graduate, don the iconic Campaign Hat, and earn the title “Drill Sergeant”.

Do you think you have what it takes? Will yours be the name they never forget? Are you or do you know an outstanding NCO that is ready to accept the challenge? We are actively recruiting eligible Drill Sergeant Candidates and we need your help. If you are locked in tight, know a squared away Soldier that would be a great asset to our mission, or have a buddy that is looking for a change, talk to them about joining our ranks! Maybe you are in a support role and have been thinking about making the leap into something new, challenging and exciting? What are you waiting for? The time has never been better to make the move.

SFC Bradford Griffith

8 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Drill Sergeant Academy Graduation Members of the G-1, 108th Training Command (IET) gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of one of their own as she graduated from the Drill Sergeant Academy, Fort Jackson, S.C., on December 6. From left to right, Staff Sgt. James, Drill Sergeant (Sgt.) Erin Wood, Mrs. Karen Woods, and CW3 Vandehey. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield/released

Drill Sergeant Academy graduate Drill Sergeant (Sgt.) Lackana Galindez stands proud in her infamous “brown-round” campaign hat, the iconic drill sergeant headgear for the NCO new initial entry Soldiers will never forget. Galindez graduated from the first primarily Reserve course at the academy and spent weeks of learning how to inspire, motivate and mentor new Soldiers in Basic Combat Training. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield / released

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 9

Drill Sergeant Academy graduate Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Jesse J. Miller stands proud in his infamous “brown-round” campaign hat, the iconic drill sergeant headgear for the NCO new initial entry Soldiers will never forget. Miller graduated from the first primarily Reserve course at the academy and spend weeks of learning how to inspire, motivate and mentor new Soldiers in Basic Combat Training. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield / released

The US Army Reserve graduated the first primarily Reserve drill sergeant class from the Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, S.C., Dec 6. Noncommissioned officers in the course spent weeks of learning how to inspire, motivate and mentor new Soldiers in Basic Combat Training. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield/released

10 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Command Sgt. Maj. Retires After Forty Years of Service By Capt. Tara Matchulat Public Affairs Officer 108th Training Command

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Riti will retire this summer after serving in the U.S. Army for over forty years. As the highest enlisted rank that one can achieve, he has served in eight different commands in the position and rank of command sergeant major, the latest with the U.S. Army Reserve 108 Training Command, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Originally hoping to join the Marines in 1978, the U.S. Army lucked out when 17-year-old Riti went to a recruiting station in Yonkers, New York, only to discover the Marine recruiter out to lunch. Seizing the opportunity, an Army recruiter, talked Riti into enlisting, and even went to the talented youth’s house to gain parental permission, as he was just underage. Riti was instantly inspired by his drill sergeants at Basic Training, and he later became a drill sergeant himself. He remarked on their influence over his military career and said, “Everything was a learning experience. They disciplined

us when they had to, but not because they just wanted to. They explained what we did wrong and how to fix it, and so they were great mentors. I told myself, if I ever become a drill

sergeant, this is who I’m going to model myself after, and I did.” The command sergeant major places a heavy emphasis on the importance of treating people with dignity and respect. As

a drill sergeant, he talked to everyone in his platoon and ensured he got to know each of them. In return for his respect and fair treatment, his platoon worked hard and earned awards

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 11 including Honor Platoon, the Army Physical Fitness streamer, and Best Platoon Streamer. Respect is not just a word to Riti, but a value he takes to heart, as one can clearly see him implement it in his daily interactions with others. Although drill sergeants initially motivated Riti, one person in particular made a significant impact on him and helped shape his leadership style. Riti shared about this fallen hero, “When I was a private first class, I had a staff sergeant by the name of William Atkins, who taught me everything about being a Soldier. He showed me how to put together training plans, how to conduct a layout for clothing and equipment inspections, and how to build sand tables. He was a complete role model, and always showed me what right looked like. His appearance was always so sharp, and I tried to emulate him. I watched how he conducted himself, and how he spoke to people. He very rarely used profanity and if he did he apologized.” When asked for the one piece of advice Riti could give to those staying or coming into the military, he emphasized the significance of mentorship. Just like Atkins mentored him, Riti explained how important it is to take the time to teach and guide your subordinates by being the right example. When choosing a mentor, “You look for someone who leads from the front, and that’s who you want to be like,” said Riti. He brought up Maj. Gen. Mark McQueen, commanding general of the 108 Training Command, as a prime example of a great leader. “Leadership is not a position, it is action,” said Riti. “General McQueen is one of the greatest

people I have ever worked for. He will not pass a Soldier

without talking to him, and not only looks out for them, but for their Families as well. He is always leading from the front and living the Army values in a way where everyone can see it,”

Riti said. Another leader that Riti commented on having a tremendous amount of respect for is Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser, the previous commanding general of the 108 Training Command. Although a handful of mentors helped Riti throughout his career, he in-turn has helped handfuls of Soldiers throughout their time in service. Riti ensured to know every Soldier in his unit that he came across, in every one of his assignments. Throughout his forty years of service, his actions exemplify his deep commitment to Soldiers and their Families. His guidance, presence, and leadership will be missed immensely, as he has truly made a significant impact throughout the ranks. As Riti turns the page in a new chapter of life, the 108 Training Command wishes him the best of luck and enjoyment in retirement.

12 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Marksmanship team shares Army experience with All-American Bowl guests By Spc. Tynisha Daniel The United States Army Marksmanship Unit showcased the very best of their skills for VIP guests and Soldiers during Bowl Week for the 2018 US Army AllAmerican Bowl at the San Antonio Gun Club, Jan. 4. Since 1956, the USAMU has gained respect around the world for winning hundreds of individual and team competitions, including 40 World Championships and 20 Olympic medals.The team consists of the Army’s top trap and skeet shooters who track, aim, and shoot at 5-inch clay targets using 12-gauge shotguns. “Today we will be meeting and engaging with participants of the Army All-American Bowl here,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Richmond, an Army Olympian and USAMU shooter instructor.“We will start by giving a brief unit history of our unit at Fort Benning, and how we impact the Big Army’s mission. We will then break down into smaller groups where they will be given individual instruction from a professional shooter and end with an exhibition shooting shot-gun trick show.” During this special AAB event, civilian advocates for the Army, commonly known as Centers of Influence (COIs) were given the opportunity to shoot a 12-gauge shotgun. “COIs can be anybody from a teacher, principal, or parent,” said Richmond. Here at the San Antonio Gun Club, they represented

The world-class competitive-shooting Soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Shotgun team provide shotgun instruction and allow guests the opportunity to shoot shotguns during the All-American Bowl 2018, Jan 4, at the San Antonio Gun Club. The USAMU is a part of U.S. Army providing small arms marksmanship training for Soldiers and enhancing Army recruiting. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/Released

universities, industry partners and non-profit organizations that amplify the Army message to future Soldiers. Both inexperienced and experienced shooters within the COI group received a safety brief from Lt. Col. Jim Barrows, USAMU

commander, and Richmond before pulling the trigger. For some participants, this was their first experience with firearms and the opportunity to shoot was electrifying. “It was really exciting for me, the blood starts moving a little bit faster and so does your heart, it was exhilarating,” exclaimed Dr. Donzell Lee, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Alcorn University.“I do not own a gun, and I’ve never shot one

before.” The marksmen explained the importance of safety, assisted the shooters in establishing a proper firing position, and most of all, urged the guests to let go of their nerves and have fun; assuring them they would be safe. “A lot of COIs who come out here have never touched a gun, we teach them stance how to mount, and safely load an unload a gun, and how to break a clay target; the basic fundamentals,”

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 13 said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Weeks, USAMU.“We take the skills that we have learned in competition and we make it fun and entertaining.” The Army All-American Bowl allows the USAMU the opportunity to educate COIs on the different opportunities the Army offers, strengthens partnerships and supports the Army’s goal of recruiting a high quality force.

“We support the purpose and cause of the ROTC program,” said Lee.“It’s so vast, there are so many things you can do in the Army, we see the All-American Bowl events as a great learning experience and an opportunity to help develop strong leaders for the military.” USAMU Soldiers serve as ambassadors for the Army by showcasing their talent and the Army Values.These elite

Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Eller, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and 2008 Olympic gold-medalist, put on a trick shotgun demonstration for educators and business leaders from around the United States Jan. 4, at the San Antonio Gun Club. The USAMU is a part of U.S. Army providing small arms marksmanship training for Soldiers and enhancing Army recruiting. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/Released

shooters leverage their natural marksmanship skills while serving their country at the same time. “This is a great environment for us to introduce ourselves, tell our personal Army stories and tell the

Staff Sgt. Derek Haldeman, a Soldier with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Shotgun Team, provides instruction on how to properly shoot and handle a shotgun at one of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl events Jan. 4, 2018. The world-class competitive-shooting Soldiers allowed guests the opportunity to shoot the shotguns and performed a trickshoot demonstration. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/Released

(COIs) what the Army has done for us,” said Richmond.“They get to hear it from the horse’s mouth, our individual Soldiers here, and they can then take it back to their small towns.”

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 15

Army Reserve Soldiers advance skills though competition By Maj. Michelle Lunato 98th Training Division (IET)

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers don’t get many opportunities to go to the range. However, a few Citizen-Soldiers took it upon themselves to not only go to the range, but to compete in several marksmanship matches all for the sake of advancing their skills. Soldiers from both the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) and the 98th Training Division (IET) competed in the 2018 U.S. Army Smalls Arms Championships March 11-18 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The weeklong competition, which is better known as the All Army and hosted annually by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, offers a mix of combat style and civilian style courses of fire on both the pistol and rifle, as well as a multigun match that requires the Soldiers to use both their primary and secondary weapons in a number of obstacle-like stages. The unique competition also offers U.S. Army Soldiers from all components—active duty, Reserve, National Guard and cadets—to compete, side by side for Excellence in Competition points that go towards the coveted Distinguished Marksmanships Badges: the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge and the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Augustine Ohaeri, a drill sergeant with the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) that is headquartered out of Fort Benning, Georgia, fires his service pistol in the bullseye pistol match during the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia March 11-18, 2018. Each year, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosts the All Army competition to develop marksmanship skills, recognize superior marksmanship skill levels and advance Army lethality. The competition is open to cadets and Soldiers from the active duty, National Guard and Reserve. This year’s competition had 18 cadets, 108 active duty, 60 National Guard and 48 Reserve Soldiers competing for various titles. U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato/released

EIC matches are not something most Soldiers have heard of, let alone competed in. In fact, “a lot of Soldiers, especially Reserve Soldiers, don’t even

917 - U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Justin McCarthy, who is assigned to the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) out of Charlotte, North Carolina, checks his teammates hits at the bullseye match during the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia March 11-18, 2018. Each year, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosts the All Army competition to develop marksmanship skills, recognize superior marksmanship skill levels and advance Army lethality. The competition is open to cadets and Soldiers from the active duty, National Guard and Reserve. This year’s competition had 18 cadets, 108 active duty, 60 National Guard and 48 Reserve Soldiers competing for various titles. U.S. Army Photo by Michelle Lunato/released

know the world of competitive shooting even exists,” said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Bradford Griffith, who is a noncommissioned officer on the 108th Training Command (IET) drill sergeant recruiting team. As a competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Reserve Service

Pistol Team, Griffith is passionate about marksmanship and urged some fellow Soldiers to come to the 2018 All Army with him. “I consider pistol marksmanship to be one of my favorite things in life, so I feel like that’s a big

Advance Skills continued on next page

16 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Advance Skills Cont’d from page 15

thing I can contribute to my unit and make them more lethal in marksmanship.” His personal passion for marksmanship is in step with U.S. Army Reserve top leadership, and something he said he takes personal responsibility in.“Lt. Gen. [Charles D.] Luckey, the chief of the Army Reserve, has been very clear on his guidance and that is to make the force more lethal, and that’s kind of been my personal charge,” said the Soldier who once served as an Army Reserve drill sergeant. So with the goal of teaching others through experience, Griffith put together a team of former drill sergeants and a drill sergeant candidate to compete and get the full All Army experience. U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Rahames Delgado, drill sergeant candidate, 3rd Battalion, 485th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), had never been to a marksmanship competition, let alone a weeklong one with so many different courses of fire. About midweek, he admitted to not being the “greatest shot” but said he was enjoying the variety of matches nonetheless.“I’ve learned so much. It’s incredible,” he said as he explained a number of techniques that had changed since he went to basic training, like being able to put your rifle magazine on the ground or on a sandbag. As a future Army Reserve drill

sergeant, Delgado feels a sense of responsibility to constantly expand his knowledge and experiences.“If I don’t have the knowledge to teach, or give to the Soldiers, where are they going to get it from?” That drive to constantly learn is something fellow competitor Staff Sgt. Augustine Ohaeri, 3rd Battalion, 485th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), also relates to as an Army Reserve drill sergeant.“As a Soldier and infantryman, your primary weapon is a rifle. A pistol is never included in that, so it’s easy to shy away from something you are uncomfortable with. So coming to the All Army broadens your horizons, and humbles you, that’s for sure.” The Army Reserve drill sergeant, who is a registered nurse in his civilian job, said he struggled with some of the courses of fire that were new to him. But he went to some clinics held by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s competitive shooters, some things clicked. “It made sense then. I was able to take something that I already knew, add to it, and apply it into a different form.” This constant state of learning is something that Ohaeri says all drill sergeants should do, especially those in the Army Reserve.“As cliché as this sounds, you are a Soldier 24/7, whether you are a Reserve Soldier or an active duty Soldier.” Personally, Ohaeri said he likes to regularly challenge himself because he feels an obligation to have a warrior mindset. So

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Augustine Ohaeri, a drill sergeant with the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) that is headquartered out of Fort Benning, Georgia, fires his service pistol in the bullseye pistol match during the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia March 11-18, 2018. Each year, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosts the All Army competition to develop marksmanship skills, recognize superior marksmanship skill levels and advance Army lethality. The competition is open to cadets and Soldiers from the active duty, National Guard and Reserve. This year’s competition had 18 cadets, 108 active duty, 60 National Guard and 48 Reserve Soldiers competing for various titles. U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato/released

each day he tries to incorporate small goals that help him stay physically fit, mentally agile and

within all the standards he needs to be.“Even when I’m not on drill sergeant duty, I look for the little things I need to do to make me better, like this competition.” Not so ironically, this is one of the many reasons why the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosts the All Army, said U.S Army Sgt. Benjamin Cleland, a shooter/ instructor with the USAMU Service Rifle Team who ran many of the All Army rifle matches.“As Soldiers broaden the experiences that they shoot in, they are just developing themselves to do what they need to do…as far as combat.” Experience behind the gun is the best way to help a Soldier, especially a drill sergeant, said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Brian Ehlschlager, an operations noncommissioned officer, 108th Training Command (IET), who also served as a drill sergeant. “This competition was awesome, and frustrating sometimes.” As a civilian police officer and Reserve Soldier, Ehlschlager is familiar with both a pistol and rifle, but found the All Army still had a lot to offer.“You can learn a lot here. I didn’t know what to expect from this competition, and I’ve just learned from watching people, talking to people and experiencing all the different

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 17

U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Bradford Griffith, who is assigned to the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) out of Charlotte, North Carolina, checks his teammates hits at the bullseye match during the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia March 11-18, 2018. Each year, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosts the All Army competition to develop marksmanship skills, recognize superior marksmanship skill levels and advance Army lethality. The competition is open to cadets and Soldiers from the active duty, National Guard and Reserve. This year’s competition had 18 cadets, 108 active duty, 60 National Guard and 48 Reserve Soldiers competing for various titles. U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato/released

events. I’ve learned a tremendous amount.” This kind of experience is just what Griffith was hoping for when he encouraged some fellow Citizen-Soldiers to compete.“They are just realizing what some of our weapon systems are capable of. The look on their faces when they were making 400-yard hits and 500-yard hits…most Soldiers never get to shoot that far.” Traditionally, standard qualification ranges for the Army issued rifles max out at 300 yards. But Griffith says that’s exactly why the Soldiers should compete at longer distances.“Beyond 300 yards, it’s more than just fundamentals. You have to be able to read the wind and know your adjustments for elevations at that distance.” Once a Soldier figures that all out though and starts to hit those long-distance shots,“going back to 300 yards feels like cheating,” said Griffith. More importantly, shooting different courses of fire and longer distances just makes Soldiers better.“To go out to 400 and 500 yards really builds confidence in the weapon systems, and also in the Soldier’s abilities,” he continued. Though Soldiers know the All Army as a fun and challenging competition that is complete with possible EIC points and bragging rights, the main purpose for bringing more than 200 Soldiers from all the components together is to develop marksmanship skills, recognize superior marksmanship skill levels and advance Army lethality.

And that is just the reason Griffith has been pushing fellow Army Reserve Soldiers to compete.“I think [the All Army] is an overlooked resource, an under utilized resource, and we need to get more Soldiers competing, especially those younger Soldiers who will replace us one day.” For Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Justin McCarthy, a noncommissioned officer on the U.S. Army Reserve Command Best Warrior Team at the 108th Training Command (IET), the All Army was a resource of research just as much as it was for personal experience.“This was an opportunity to see how the rest of the Army is training and try different weapon techniques that are not necessarily taught at the basic training level.” While going through the competition, McCarthy said he kept thinking of possible ways to incorporate the different courses of fire and techniques from the All Army into his unit’s training and future competitions he himself was planning. That desire to share the All Army experience was a common statement among the competitors, who represented 39 different states and every Army component. And with the goal of fostering a competitive spirit while developing marksmanship skills across the force, that is just what the Soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit love to hear, said Cleland.“You realize that you are influencing the entire Army as a whole in a positive manner and that’s extremely rewarding.”

U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Bradford Griffith, who is assigned to the 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) out of Charlotte, North Carolina, checks his teammates hits at the bullseye match during the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia March 11-18, 2018. Each year, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosts the All Army competition to develop marksmanship skills, recognize superior marksmanship skill levels and advance Army lethality. The competition is open to cadets and Soldiers from the active duty, National Guard and Reserve. This year’s competition had 18 cadets, 108 active duty, 60 National Guard and 48 Reserve Soldiers competing for various titles. U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato/released

18 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

The Lunch Bunch

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1160 hosted a morale boosting luncheon for the Soldiers of the 108th Training Command (IET) during February 2018 Battle Assembly. Members of the post made every dish served to the 108th Soldiers, providing them with sandwiches, chili, soup, and savory desserts. (U.S. Army photo by Spec. Tynisha L. Daniel)

By Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affair


founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a nonprofit service organization has been comprised of Veterans and military members from the active guard and reserve

forces. In addition to service members and Veterans, spouses and family members have also been apart of the organization for decades. The VFW and auxiliary are intentional about giving back and on Sunday, Feb 11., the auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1160 hosted a luncheon for the Soldiers of the 108th Training Command during battle assembly weekend. Members of the auxiliary made every dish served to the 108th Soldiers from scratch, providing them with sandwiches, chili, soup, and savory desserts.

“Everyone pitched in, we decided to show our support to the 108th Soldiers and with the help of Christine (previous post commander), the luncheon was a success,” said William Pattersen, Post Commander. Located on Central Avenue, Post 1160 is the first VFW post organized in Charlotte. The post has been around for years, continually growing and showing their support to the military and the community. “The military has changed since we were in, but its principles have not. We use those same principles here at Post 1160,

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 19

the fight outside of these walls,” said Stephens. The VFW is here to give a voice to Veterans, to help them with their benefits, to help navigate the VA and to give Veterans what is dutifully right for them. We are there for the fight up at legislative, explained Stephens. The yearly membership cost to be a member of VFW Post 1160 is $40, and an auxiliary membership is $30. As an incentive to joining Post 1160, the first five applicants who join in 2018 will have their initial membership fee waived. “If you give up on Veteran The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1160 hosted a morale boosting luncheon for the Soldiers of the 108th Training Command during Feborganizations you lose the voice ruary 2018 Battle Assembly. Members of Post 1160 and 108th Soldiers shared laughs and stories over the course of the lunch. (U.S. Army to fight for what is rightfully photo by Spec. Tynisha L. Daniel) yours to keep,” said Stephens If you or a service member and seeing the younger Soldiers The purpose of the VFW is the opportunity to be apart of our soldiering is inspiring. We’re the to preserve and strengthen the auxiliary,” said Christine Stephens, would like to join Post 1160 VFW or the auxiliary visit same, there’s just an age gap,” said comradeship amongst its members. a member at Post 1160. for more Pattersen. The VFW does this by providing “The membership for the VFW information on the VFW or visit From fighting for Veteran’s vital assistance and support to has gone down over the years. It benefits on Capitol Hill, to America’s service members. would be great to get the younger the VFWs Post 1160 Facebook page A common misconception providing educational and generations in so that we can do of the VFW is that you have to transition support to members more for the community and take vfwstonewall1160 be a Veteran to be a part of the of the military, the VFW’s mission organization, when in fact those has always been to serve and advocate on behalf of all Veterans. interested in being a part of organization can join while still They are also proud of their actively serving their country. charitable outreach to help the “One of the major qualifications community and their brethren in to join the VFW is to have served arms. in a foreign war, whether it be “We can do a lot for other World War I or II or in Iraq, and Veterans and people in the if you’re a family member of a service, that’s what we are here Veteran who has served, you have for,” said Pattersen.

20 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

2018 CIAA

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 21

22 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Bent not Broken Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Litchfield 108th Training Command (IET)

From the air Puerto Rico looks every inch the island paradise – cloudless azure skies, endless sandy beaches and sparkling Caribbean waters. As my plane begins its final approach, the picture shifts and reality begins to focus. A patchwork sea of blue stretches below and it takes a moment to realize that it isn’t water, it’s the roofs of the houses and businesses below. I gaze at the FEMA “blue roofs” and tarps as I begin to register the damage that stretches as far as the eye can see. Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category Four storm on September 20 with sustained winds from 130-156 miles per hour, one mph less than the threshold for Category Five. The storm, striking an island already severely impacted by Hurricane Irma, caused catastrophic damage, leaving millions of residents without power, potable drinking water or communication. In the United States we get used to the mobilization of resources – excited photos appear across social media as line trucks begin to roll and recovery is anticipated. Here, 50 percent of the population is still without power 79 days after landfall and although 1-389th Regiment, 98th Training Division Soldiers are amongst those affected, they have been out since the early days of recovery, determined to assist their fellow Soldiers and Puerto Ricans.

BROTHERS IN ARMS With cell towers down, no power on the island and a limited accountability of troops, the drill sergeants from the 1-389th took to the streets to locate their fellow Soldiers who had not been

in contact with the unit to report their status. It wasn’t an easy task. Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Christian Matos, a drill sergeant with the 1-389th was on the contact team in those first few days. “Everything was destroyed. It was a first experience for me, to actually live a hurricane and have no water, no lights, no communication, it’s hard,” he said. Matos explained that with streets blocked by light poles and electrical lines, travel was difficult but not impossible and he immediately volunteered to part of the team. “I know almost all of Puerto Rico and I could get to the places we needed. We could not use GPS or Google maps and so you actually have to know how to get

to the places. There are no signs on the streets… you could pass an exit and keep going to another town.” Although Matos had no damage to his own house, the damages to homes of his Soldiers weighed heavily on him. “For me, who had no damage to see a lot of my Soldiers that had damages… most of them lost their house so they were living in other places and it’s hard.”

Of the 60 Soldiers reached by the task force, almost 50 percent of them had sustained damage to their homes, with four of the homes sustaining damage rendering them uninhabitable. Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Raphael Velez, 1-389th Regiment, transitioned to a liaison with the recovery operations, but to him the most important mission was as a member of the initial contact team.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 23 “We got to go through the island, making sure they (our Soldiers) were OK and their Families were OK and I think that was the best mission that I did, making sure our own Soldiers were doing good,” Velez said. Although he experienced Hurricane Hugo as a young child, Velez says that no other hurricane or storm that he has seen while living on the island could have prepared him for the damage caused by Irma and Maria. “It’s 2017, it’s not like the old days… I never expected as much damage as we saw. The mountains would straight up collapse and take houses with them, landslides took houses, roads, huge trees,” Velez explained. “I never thought MY island would be like I had seen on the news from other countries.” Velez saw the contact mission as a way to increase the readiness of his Soldiers for the recovery mission that was yet to come. “Going out and finding my own Soldiers was the best mission. I needed to know, we needed to know they were doing OK, that their Families were doing OK,” he stated adamantly.“If we get strong, we can help others. If we aren’t strong we can’t help anyone.” Once the accountability of the 1-389th was complete, the drill sergeants were assigned

to alternate roles to assist in recovery missions. “The resilience of our Soldiers, helping everybody was our biggest success,” declared Velez. “They didn’t care where they had to sleep, the didn’t care if they were hungry, they wanted to help. That’s what made it work, the Soldiers.”

REACHING BEYOND: Drill Sergeant (Sgt. 1st Class) Juan Velez was sent off mainland Puerto Rico to assist with recovery missions on the outlying islands. “We were sent to Vieques and there they had major issues because that’s where actually the hurricane came in through first,” Velez explained.“Irma came through Vieques and Maria came through Vieques, they both hit the island and it was severely damaged. The hospital lost its roof and we were sent initially to help assist the hospital.” An Army area maintenance support activity employee, Velez has experience with generators, which proved to be invaluable to recovery efforts. One of their first tasks was to repair the main generator at the local fire station. Grateful, the firefighters allowed the Soldiers to bunk at the station during their mission. “As people started hearing we were there, they started calling

us for help,” Velez said.“The water company (the aqueduct) needed help with their generators so we got their generators up and going so they could actually feed Vieques and Culebra with water.” Fed by an under ocean pipeline, providing water to Puerto Rico’s small outlying islands requires electrical power. Velez was able to help restore generator power and assist in providing water through that source. “They had major issues with that (power) because the generators weren’t working so we started repairing, helping them get those generators up so

that they can start pushing water through the island,” said Velez. Soldiers are not strangers to disaster relief, but this experience took on a different meaning for the drill sergeants here at home. “It was hard because of the hardship and suffering… It was hard for me because I mean, seeing these people, these kids, the elderly, babies, and their needs – it was rough,” Velez said. Even in midst of the tragedy, the goodwill and generosity of the Puerto Rican people was apparent to the Soldiers. “The people were generous, they would come up and say

24 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

‘hey, do you want some food’ or whatever. They’d see us and they’d be like ‘thank you, thank you, thank you – you don’t’ know how much we appreciate you being here and if it wasn’t for the Army, wasn’t for you guys we

would still be at the bottom of the hole’.” Although unable to do anything about the lack of commercial power, Velez sees ultimate success in restoring water to the area.

“Anybody can be without power, and you can use generators, but when it comes to water, for people to bathe, for food, for drinking, that’s rough if you don’t have any water. Just being able to be a part of that, to assist them in getting that water, that’s what touched me the most. Seeing the expression on their faces… that was exciting,” Velez concluded.

CLOSER TO HOME One of the Soldiers severely impacted by the storm was Sgt. Alex Lozada, drill sergeant with the 389th Regiment and employee at the federal prison in Puerto Rico. Lozada and his family left their home as Hurricane Maria bore down on the island and sheltered with Lozada’s father-inlaw. They rode out the storm in an all concrete house protected by steel panels blocking the door,

yet still felt Maria’s fury. “The winds were so strong, from one in the morning until two-thirty we were holding the door because it was about to bust open,” Lozada explained.“We were taking turns… when the eye came we took an hour break and then the wind started to come back on but it was coming the other way.” After the storm broke, Lozada headed out to see if his home had survived. “I walked a pretty good five miles to the home to see how I ended up. We lost the roof, we also have in front of the home like a small little store where everyone in the area usually comes and buys and that also lost the roof.” Prior to the storm, Lozada resided in the two story, multifamily dwelling sharing space between his small family and his mother and grandmother.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 25 the fact that he lives in a prison cell for now, Lozada is grateful for those around him that help. “I know it’s going to be OK, that’s the important part. I have my family in the military, I have my family at home, and they’re always helping me.”


Working at the federal prison, he relied on the small store for supplementary income. Following the storm, Lozada and his family spent a week living with his father-in-law but it wasn’t an option as a permanent solution. Unable to return to their own home because of the damage, an alternate arrangement had to be made. Now, 79 days after the storm, Lozada still lives in a fourth floor cell at the federal prison with other displaced corrections officers while his family has been evacuated to the United States. “You can’t live in the home right now because of the water that seeped from the top home that’s missing the roof,” Lozada explains.“It’s gathering three, four inches of water and when it starts raining it filters through to the first floor and it’s breaking up the cement.” Of considerable concern to the Lozada is the mold growing in the humid climate. With the prices of generators, power washers and fans climbing to the unattainable range coupled with extremely limited availability,

the resources aren’t there to properly clean and dry the homes in preparation for return. “I’m waiting for everything to get back on track and then when I have the funds and I’ll fix it again” he said. He would like the luxury of a concrete roof and better protection when he rebuilds but the cost is prohibitive so he will roof with metal sheeting like before and hope for the best. “We lost a couple of things,” demurred Lozada as he lists his television, furniture, beds, the kitchen counter, bathroom and stove amongst his unrecoverable possessions.“I try to always look at the bright side because I’m that type of person. It’s just material things. I stay positive everyday because I know everyone’s fine. My mom is doing good; my wife is doing good.” Asked if he is doing good, Lozada drops his head and his shoulders begin to shake. When he can speak again he murmurs, “I just try to get through.” Despite the devastating losses, pain of missing his family and

As I return to my hotel following a day of emotional stories and heart-wrenching interviews I realize I have much to be grateful for. The lack of air conditioning and long climb up to my room do not seem as important this afternoon as they did this morning. At least I have a roof over my head and can turn on the lights. The gentleman outside the convenience store who asks me for a little change gets a small bottle of milk and a few non-perishable food items as well. It’s the very least I can do.

Puerto Rico is more than an island on a cruise ship stop. It’s more than a paradise for Spring Break students. Puerto Rico is a people, it’s a rich heritage, it’s a give until you have nothing left and then find something more to give mentality. Pride in the island is second to pride in themselves and Puerto Ricans have a lot to be proud of. I am blessed beyond measure to be influenced by people who care less for themselves than they do for their neighbors. A population that has bonded immeasurably over tragedy and will work tirelessly to see their island recover. I gaze out of my windows at palm trees that still curve in the direction of a no longer existent storm and realize that much like the Puerto Rican people, much like the resilient Soldiers of the 1-389th Regiment, they are bent but not broken.

26 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

From the 104th Training Division (LT)Commander

By Brig. Gen. B.G. Edwards Commanding, 104th Training Division (LT)

Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC) remains the largest commissioning source for officers in the U.S. Army and at its core is leader training. The 104th Division (Leader Training) plays a significant role in meeting our Army’s leadership development requirements by training tomorrow’s leaders today. The Timberwolf Division supports nearly 270 ROTC programs across America every day. Every year, we assist with producing nearly 6000 new Lieutenants for the U.S. Army and over 600 for the United States Army Reserve. This past December, I had the honor and privilege to promote three of America’s finest cadets to the rank of Second Lieutenant from one of these outstanding ROTC programs. These newly commissioned officers completed 4 years of

undergraduate studies at California State University at Fullerton while balancing the rigors of a highly intense ROTC program with real life events to include family, friends, and extra-curricular obligations. These leaders are highly educated, well trained, and motivated warriors who are fully prepared to enter the Army. As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, they will be expected to lead, make hard decisions, and accomplish the mission. This is a great responsibility and one that can only be possible with the right foundation. The foundation of these leadership skills begins with a solid ROTC program. Successful ROTC programs train their future leaders to be agile, adaptable, flexible, mentally/physically resilient, and competent. These traits are encased in the armor of warrior ethos and guided by the Army Values. But ROTC is just the start. These new leaders will continue to learn and grow as they progress through their respective leadership lanes from the study of doctrine, tactics, techniques, procedures, as well from coaching, mentoring, and most importantly: training. Moreover, they learn from their success and failures throughout their career. While on this journey, they must never forget the portion of the sacred cadet creed that states,“mission first and people always”. These new leaders must learn to balance successful mission accomplishment with how they treat and care for organizational members. This delicate balance between “risk to mission and risk to force” will confront these leaders at every decision point along their leadership path to mission success. Taking care of people involves creating and sustaining

“An ideal Army leader has strong intellect, physical presence, professional competence, high moral character, and serves as a role model.” FM 6-22 The 104th Division is…“training tomorrow’s leaders today” — BG Edwards a positive climate through open communications, trust, cohesion, and teamwork. All of which are traits of successful organizations. Seeing the excitement and anticipation of these soon to be lieutenants was inspirational. It gave me a sense of hope, pride, and confidence that our junior leaders are well trained and ready to make a positive impact in the Army. While at California State University at Fullerton, an MS2 cadet approached me and asked the following question:“Sir, did you have any fears entering the Army as a brand new lieutenant.” My answer to him was, “No!” I strongly feel that I was fully prepared to enter this profession because of the level of training I

received in my ROTC program. And my message to him,“you too are ready.” Along the way, I had leaders who invested time, energy, and resources to make me the best leader that I can be. As leaders, it is our responsibility to contribute to the building of new leaders and to set forth the standards that will be practiced by others to follow. The oath the newly commissioned officers made that morning is one that should not to be taken lightly as it is an oath of commitment, loyalty, service, duty dedication, honor, respect, integrity, and personal courage. It is an oath that binds the Officer Corp and is an oath to command the most professional, educated, motivated, and best Army in the world. So stand tall and salute those who lead the way! -— Timberwolf 06, Out

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 27

From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander

By Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford Commanding, 95th Training Division (IET)

Almost a year ago, I told you that we were sending a battalion headquarters and eight companies of Drill Sergeants, one of which came from our friends in the 98th Division, to Fort Leonard Wood. There, they were going to train a large number of new Soldiers, and help the Army increase its overall end strength. The eyes of the entire Army were on our Soldiers as they undertook this mission. Would our Soldiers be ready and relevant? Could we

meet the challenge? Today, I am proud to tell you that our Soldiers not only met the challenge, but have excelled in every possible way! We only had 30 days from when our first Soldiers arrived at Fort Leonard Wood until they were required to pick up the first group of trainees and start their training. In that short time, our Soldiers had lots of work to do. They had to obtain all of their post certifications so that they would be qualified to train new Soldiers. They also had to in-process post, find places to live, and take care of all of the administrative requirements associated with moving onto an active duty post. Most critically, they had to get their headquarters’ facilities and trainee barracks ready for use. All of the buildings that our Soldiers took over had been “mothballed” for quite a few years. While the lights might have turned on, and the utilities mostly worked, that was about it. Our Soldiers had to do extensive cleaning and repair work on the buildings they took over. Worse, they had to go out and scrounge furniture in order for the buildings to be functional.

Our Soldiers did all of this, did it under tremendous time pressure, and did it well! The 2-48 Infantry became a reality, and was open for business precisely on schedule. Since that strong start, our Soldiers have trained over 1,000 new Soldiers in multiple training cycles. Additional training cycles are in progress now. In addition to training new Soldiers, they maintained control of significant numbers of other trainees who had completed basic training and were waiting to ship to their follow-on training; keeping those young Soldiers gainfully employed, fit, and ready. No matter what their mission was, the professionalism and excellence of our Soldiers was always on display. In my visits to Fort Leonard Wood, I’ve heard

nothing but great things about our Soldiers. Our Soldiers have completely integrated into the Fort Leonard Wood community. Many of them like the duty so well that they are extending to serve a second year there. A significant number even brought their families with them. In short, our Soldiers have once again proven that they are ready, relevant, and able to step forward to meet critical Army needs. Without our Soldiers, the Army would not have been able to meet its end strength requirements. Because of our Soldiers, the Army has many more new, well-trained young Soldiers who are able to serve their country, and can do so secure in the knowledge that their training will be equal to any challenge they might face.

28 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

From the 98th Training Division (IET) Commander Role of the Commander. My expectation of commanders at all levels of the 98th Training Division is that they are the unit’s primary trainer. I expect Commanders to be at morning physical readiness training, at training events, at classroom instruction, at the ranges – wherever training is occurring, the commander should be there. Commanders are always with the main effort of any

operation, and in the 98th Training Division, the main effort is the unit’s training event. Commanders observe, evaluate and assess training and leader development at all levels of the organization.They provide feedback as a coach, teacher, and mentor.The commander ensures the unit trains to standard, not to time. Commanders personally observe and evaluate training execution

to the maximum extent possible. Only through personal observation of, and participation in training, can commanders communicate to subordinate units and leaders the importance of training. Commanders are the training managers for their commands and evaluate how leaders and Soldiers perform. Based on their evaluations, commanders and leaders provide

By Brig. Gen. Miles Davis Commanding, 98th Training Division (IET)

feedback to the chain of command, to the trainers, and to those being trained. More importantly, commanders conduct realistic and accurate assessments of unit training based on personal observation and feedback from unit leaders and Soldiers. Commanders certify their units for their assigned mission. Our ability to execute our missions, recruit viable drill sergeant candidates, and retain drill sergeants (Combat Readiness) relies on the ability of our commanders to effectively plan, execute, and assess challenging, METLbased training OUTSIDE of our reserve centers. Commanders get your units out of the reserve centers to conduct challenging training. Units that conduct great training, attract and retain great Soldiers! No great war story began with “When we were in the Reserve Center…” See you on the objective! Iroquois 6


8th Annual Soldiers and Families GOLF TOURNAMENT Sept. 24, 2018 — Pine Island Country Club, Charlotte, NC The 108th Griffon Association is sponsoring the event and wants to invite you to participate or become a sponsor for this worthwhile endeavor. Proceeds are to be used to: • Provide educational scholarships for Army Reserve Soldiers and members of their families • To promote family readiness and provide assistance to deployed Army Reserve Soldiers’ families • Provide assistance to Soldiers injured in action through existing charities The 108th Griffon Association is a North Carolina non-profit 501(C)(19)corporation made up of past and present members of the 108th Training Command, a two-star Army Reserve Command with headquarters in Charlotte, NC and subordinate units spread across the US, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

For more information on the tournament, or to be a sponsor, contact The Griffon and ask for Sherry Brooks at 866-761-1247.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 29

Photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato 98th Training Division

Strong will fuels female Soldier toward new path By Joe Lacdan Army News Service March 13, 2018

(This is part one of a two part story.) FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. —Justine Bottorff’s eyes flicker with intensity as she lifts herself over a 15-foot obstacle near the hilly brush of Fort Leonard Wood. Her boots pound an obstacle course’s rocky trail as a Soldier carrying a timer runs alongside a few paces away. Afterward, she doesn’t have a second to breathe before she must walk a wooden tightrope bridge for the next timed hurdle. The challenges she faces as part of the 2017 Drill Sergeant of the Year competition pale next to the dangers she faced in the deserts of Iraq. Bottorff deployed to the Middle East during the height of the Iraqi insurgency, seeing injuries so intense they pushed her to her limit. After leaving the Army, Bottorff attended undergraduate courses at the University at Buffalo, New York. At Buffalo, she struggled to retain short-term memories and said she experienced problems focusing. So in 2011, less than a year after leaving the Army, she drove to the nearby Veteran’s Affairs regional office. There, she sought the help of a clinical neuropsychologist, who later told her that her brain and cognitive functions had changed.The doctor said her problems could be traced to her combat deployments.

In the Company of Men On a late June night in 2007, Bottorff flew out of Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, for a 14-month deployment to southern Iraq, during the deadliest period for Americans since the Iraq invasion. In January of that year, President Bush had ordered 20,000 additional troops to provide more security for

U.S. forces from the western border of the Al Anbar Province to Baghdad in the east. More than 900 U.S. troops lost their lives in 2007. Travelling on busy roads near the southern Iraq city of Nasiriyah, 200 miles south of Baghdad, Bottorff rode in armored Humvees with convoy escort teams.At 19 years old, she joined desert patrols as a combat medic, on squads that transported supplies to U.S. bases from Contingency Operating Base Adder. During the days Bottorff weathered through sweltering heat and

blistering sandstorms and at night her body fought through the shock of 40-degree temperature drops. Female Soldiers often must earn the respect of their male counterparts by proving themselves on the job, she said. “What I always have to remind myself,” Bottorff said,“is that every time I go somewhere new, I’m meeting a whole new group of men who may have never worked with a female before.” But Bottorff, her peers say, defies stereotypes. She never hesitated to do something her male counterparts could do, whether lifting heavy equipment or performing a drill.A former high-school athlete, she learned to be tougher than the boys early in life. While growing up in rural upstate New York, Bottorff often grappled with her brothers in wrestling matches.Through strenuous workouts, she built herself an athletic frame that allowed her to keep up with males during physical

labors, even when working in the field where she often was the only

woman. So just one year removed from her high school graduation, Bottorff, a Soldier from a blue- collar, upstate New York town, found herself in the middle of the Iraqi insurgency. Near Adder, U.S. convoys

Warrior Within continued on Page 30

30 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Warrior Within Cont’d from page 29

sometimes would drive through improvised explosive devices and blasts would rip through the vehicles causing injuries. When an IED hit the convoy, Bottorff didn’t hesitate to act. She would often treat a Soldier or an injured civilian on the gravel, often with security troops firing gunshots over her head to protect the convoy. “You really just go into autopilot,” Bottorff said.“I almost felt like everything was going in slow motion and I almost felt like I was watching myself.” She worked in the grimmest conditions imaginable, giving medical attention to blast victims, some who had missing limbs. Clad in her battle helmet and heavy combat vest, she bandaged wounds, inserted breathing tubes and placed patients’ arms in tourniquets. Bottorff would also medically evacuate fallen Soldiers and civilians. The convoys, maybe six Humvees escorting 30 trailers loaded with supplies, often took the same road each day, making them vulnerable targets for insurgency attacks. Bottorff’s team had to remain vigilant. “It was so much anxiety, constantly anticipating it,” Bottorff said.“It’s almost better when something does happen, because then you have something to do.” When the realities of working

on the battlefield crept in, her fellow Soldiers counted on her to lighten the mood.When her former colleague, now-Sgt. 1st Class Tiari Ventura, would leave a meeting stressed or flustered, Bottorff would tell a joke or offer a Twinkie. Ventura said even in the worst circumstances, Bottorff didn’t crack. “The first time you smell someone that’s burnt ... [you learn] it’s a smell you don’t ever want to smell and you probably will never forget. Some people just can’t get past that. Some people can’t get past seeing little children injured,” said Ventura, now a detachment sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.“But she was able to deal with it all. She did it with a smile. Even when things bothered her, she smiled.” Treating the wounded came natural to Bottorff.Well before she buttoned her first combat uniform in the Army, as a youth in upstate New York, she was already tending to the injured.

Natural Healer “You can’t fix them all,” Charlie Luther told his niece, Justine, then 7 years old. In their small apartment complex in Herkimer, New York, Justine bandaged wounded animals she found fallen on the concrete trail and woods nearby: birds in fallen nests. Squirrels with injured limbs. Snakes who had suffered cuts. She’d cautiously carry her patients to her uncle Charlie, and he would

show her how to bandage the wounds until the animals became strong enough to go back to the wild. Justine learned to care for people as well, long before joining the Army as a combat medic. Justine’s father, Chet Allen, often did not play a large part in his children’s lives. Both her parents worked long hours. Her father withdrew himself from family activities, she said, often sitting alone on the couch while his children went outdoors.When Justine’s parents divorced while she was in the eighth grade, she had to grow up quickly. “I feel like I’ve been 40 since I was 13,” she said. One day in 1997, as her uncle sat in his apartment, he received an urgent call from his niece. Justine’s younger brother,Taylor, had hit her other brother, Max, with a toy truck, creating a deep cut in his forehead. She applied pressure to his wound, slowing the blood until an ambulance arrived. Growing up with an absent father and a mother who had to work long hours as a nurse to support her and her three siblings, Justine often took a parental role helping her mother, Laurie Reynolds, raise her younger brothers. She taught her brothers how to defend themselves, she said. Each morning, she would wake up her brothers and make sure they attended school ready and on time. She’d also stand up to neighborhood

bullies on playgrounds. She taught her younger brothers to stand up for themselves. “People think that because I was the only girl that (I) had all these brothers protecting me,” Justine said. “Really, in my life, it was completely the opposite. I took care of them. I protected them.” Eventually,Taylor and Max would follow their older sister into the Army.Taylor, now a sergeant, graduated from the Army’s Ranger and Infantry Schools at Fort Benning. Max finished six years of active duty, also as a combat medic. After Justine’s dad eventually left the family, she turned to her uncle Charlie for advice. She’d talk to him about school, about her family and about boys. Charlie knew the responsibility that fell on her shoulders and he talked to her like an adult. “He was like a father to me,” Justine said. Uncle Charlie had also been in the service, having enlisted in the Army in the mid-1980s as a canine paratrooper. But spinal ailments forced him into an early discharge after basic training. But he still thought the Army was a good option. Charlie told his niece about the world outside of Herkimer and encouraged her to join the Army too, so that she could leave the small town behind. Justine decided she would join the service while filling out college applications at Herkimer High School in 2005.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 31 But during her undergraduate years attending the University at Buffalo, Bottorff battled injuries that she could not heal. At 23, Bottorff remembers sitting through to the end of a world civilization course at UB.When the other students picked up their bags and laptops to leave class, Bottorff realized she couldn’t recall a word of her professor’s lecture. “What just happened?” Bottorff said she remembered thinking, as she walked out of the classroom. She found that the same sharp mind she’d used as a young Soldier to improve productivity in her Fort Bragg unit suddenly couldn’t recall a single lecture point. On active duty, she’d peppered her Army supervisors with questions about Army regulations or proper medical procedures. Her brain had been a ready sponge as a Soldier, absorbing information that helped her instinctively act during pressure situations. Bottorff likened her Army training to muscle memory -- training both her body and mind to carry out emergency care under heavy pressure. As a high school student, she’d

Warrior Within continued on Page 32 Herkimer, a rural town of less than 10,000, sitting just south of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, didn’t have much to offer Justine. She grew up in near poverty there, where the average family income hovers at around $40,000. In Herkimer, she spent many of her days playing in the center quad of housing complex where she lived. She spent summers buying 10-cent popsicles at the small convenience store down the street and playing games with her brothers. As a youth, she said she remembers, she wanted to leave behind her dysfunctional home life and get as far removed from Herkimer as possible. “I never wanted to be like my parents,” Justine said.“I just remember being like really unsatisfied and (Charlie) kind of (gave me) that broader worldview. It never even occurred to me that I would ever stay in Herkimer. Like I always knew that I was going to high school and I would graduate, and I would leave.”

You’ll Always Remember Your Drill Sergeant Bottorff eventually did leave Herkimer. She joined the Army as her uncle Charlie had suggested. And when the time came around for Bottorff to leave active duty, she did something she thought she would never do: she joined the Army Reserve, and also applied for Drill Sergeant School. One positive recollection from the Army remained heavy in her memory: her drill sergeants.When Bottorff attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in the summer of 2006, Sgt. Edward Wilhite and Staff Sgt. Scott Legg made a positive impression on her.

The decision to be a drill sergeant didn’t come easy, though, as Bottorff initially planned to leave the Army behind her, and focus on her career in emergency care. But if she could graduate from the drill sergeant academy, Bottorff thought, she could maybe make a difference and become the leader she never had the chance to be while on deployments to the Middle East. While waiting to receive orders to attend the Army’s Drill Sergeant Academy as a member of the Army Reserve, Bottorff also had set her sights on a civilian career as well. She hoped to treat patients as an emergency medicine physician.

Stranger On Campus During her two combat deployments, she treated dozens of blast and gunshot wounds alongswept desert roads.

32 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Warrior Within Cont’d from page 31

made the honor roll and National Honor Society. Class lessons had come so easy to her before her active-duty years. But now, in her first semester on the bustling campus, she couldn’t focus on her professor’s words. She couldn’t process information well enough to scribble notes.When she opened a textbook, a single page could take her more than an hour to read. Taking notes, she said, became a dizzying chore.And she struggled to recall class lessons. Bottorff experienced strange symptoms and found she could no longer make short-term memories as easily. She noticed other strange things as well. She winced at bright lights. Loud noises would startle her. Friends said she would snap at them during casual conversations and she struggled to sleep at nights.

Frustration soon boiled into anger. Bottorff sought help at Buffalo’s VA office, where she took psychological evaluation tests. Tests revealed she had symptoms consistent with traumatic brain injury and some similar to posttraumatic stress disorder. Bottorff learned that the trauma she experienced in Iraq likely caused the effects. She said hits to her head during Army airborne training could have caused further harm. Eventually, she lost her academic scholarship. There would be no consolation for Bottorff. Her dream of becoming an emergency care doctor -- to rise from the poverty she grew up in -- was apparently dashed. Instead, she faced the tough reality of reevaluating her dreams. “It was just really hard because I always identified as a really smart person,” Bottorff said.“So to feel like that part of you is gone ...You gave the Army a part of yourself [and now] you’re not ever going to

be the same again.You can’t be the person that you wanted to be.” When walking amid the mass of students on Buffalo’s north campus, the normally outgoing Bottorff became quiet.The school’s 30,000 student population was triple that of Herkimer. Friends knew Bottorff loved being around people; she enjoyed talking to strangers like old acquaintances.When visiting a nearby Denny’s with friends, Bottorff would be the first to strike up a conversation with the server. “She’ll make a friend in like two seconds,” said her rowing teammate Cassie Nicola. But her first semester at Buffalo she kept to herself. Her personality changed, likely another consequence of the burden of living with images from her two combat deployments. “I felt like an alien,” Bottorff said. Other students would laugh, send each other photos. Bottorff knew she was different from other undergraduate students. “To me, I’ve already dealt with

life and death,” Bottorff said.“When you’ve already had so many intense amped-up experiences, other things just seem to matter less.” Her five years of military service and two years of deployments in Iraq amounted to 17 college credits which she could not even use toward her medical degree. Bottorff’s struggles left some friends bewildered.Ventura, who served with Bottorff at Bragg and on a 14-month deployment, remembered Bottorff as quickwitted with a razor sharp memory. “My initial reaction was ‘not Justine, no way,’”Ventura said.“I couldn’t believe it. She was so strong-headed, so adamant.” Bottorff said she thought about leaving it all behind --- the classmates she couldn’t relate to, the lessons that left her frustrated, and her dashed dream of working as an emergency physician. But even under the most difficult circumstances, she never backed away from her goals.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 33

Learning from the Best

By Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M. Litchfield “You’re late, hurry up!” a sharp command voice rings out of the darkness as a 1st Mission Support Command Best Warrior competitor hurries downhill to the PT formation. It’s the early hours of the morning at Camp Buchanan, Puerto Rico and already the drill sergeants from the 1-389th Regiment, 98th Training Division (IET) are setting the standard for the week to come. “We bring a certain level of credibility,” states Master Sgt. Alvin Media. He and his drill sergeants are here to ensure that scoring is consistent, mentoring is provided as needed and competitors are held to the highest of standards. Soldiers coming to a best warrior competition remind Medina of the Privates he trains while working with Initial Entry Soldiers. “When you see Privates from day one, when they finish, they are a completely different Soldier,” said Media. “I think that happens in a best warrior competition too.” Using the drill sergeants to run the training lanes allows for a level of mentorship and discipline not always achieved in their own formations. “I think it’s the overall what you can bring to the Soldiers.What you can do to make them better,” says Medina. Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Raphael Velez is a fan of how the Best Warrior competition measures the knowledge and strength of the Soldiers competing amongst each other but his favorite part of the BWC is not actually competition. “My favorite part is just being an NCO. Being a drill sergeant, being an instructor, motivating Soldiers, teaching new things,” enthused Velez. “I love being that. In twenty years you are going to have a Soldier saying ‘I remember Drill Sergeant Velez / Staff Sgt.Velez because he taught me this’ or ‘I will never forget he taught me

this and I want to teach other people.’ I want to make a change in their lives for the better, not only in their personal life but also as a Soldier in the United States Army, the greatest Army there is in the world.” Velez offered an analogy from a conversation with his son. “My son always tells me ‘I’m not one of your Soldiers, I’m not one of your Privates’ and I told him the other day, I said, have you ever thought that I treat my Soldiers like they were my son?” explained Velez.“I treat my Soldiers like they were my son. I truly want what’s best for them. If I have to go out of my way to do it, I’ll do it.” That attitude was plainly seen as the competitors took a break during range operations to hydrate and get some lunch. Prior to leaving the range, DS Velez pulled two Soldiers he had been observing aside to assist them with firing techniques prior to sending them off the range. “These two Soldiers were shooting like crazy, it was like popcorn machine without the lid,” he laughs. “This was down time for us, I could have been in the shade drinking Gatorade but I really want to see anyone I train do the best they can so I took my time to teach them and have them practice a little bit more than anyone else.” That attitude of mentorship and caring was prevalent during the entire completion with the drill sergeants holding classes and familiarizations before asking the Soldiers to compete in the tasks. We are missing facilities here in PR. If we were at Fort Jackson, Fort Benning we have all the facilities there. But here, where are you going to get a Victory Tower? Where are you going to get a confidence course? There’s none,” explained Velez. A priority for the drill sergeants was to ensure that the Soldiers not only participated in a fair, challenging competition, but that they were

able to take their experiences back to their units and train their fellow Soldiers, thus increasing readiness. “The person who is going to compete next year is trying to get ready for that and whoever comes out of the competition goes motivated back to the unit and motivates the other Soldiers,” explained Medina. “If you aren’t very good at PT or running

there are Soldiers out there who really want to prove themselves and this is one of the ways.” Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Carlos Perez echoed Medina’s sentiments. “We accomplished a lot with the Soldiers.They didn’t know a lot and they need to practice a lot of things… I’m glad we are a part of this because they are learning from the best.”

34 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Drill Sergeant named hospital CEO By Richard Dumas News Source- The Reporter

Monroe County Hospital selected administrator Lorraine Smith on Tuesday, Jan. 31 for the position of MCH Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Smith, who has worked for Macon-based Navicent Health for 10 years, had been MCH’s administrator since July 2017. Smith replaces outgoing CEO Darren Pearce, who stepped down last week after serving as MCH CEO since August 2016. Smith, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, has over 17 years of healthcare experience, including various clinical laboratory and leadership positions at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Navicent Health. Prior to being appointed as MCH’s administrator, Smith was the Director of Operations at the Medical Center of Peach County. In addition to her work in healthcare, Smith serves as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve where she has over 20 years of service and is currently the Headquarters, 98th Division First Sergeant, a unit responsible for training basic entry soldiers. In 2003, Smith was deployed to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Smith and her husband Brandon formerly lived in Forsyth for five years but now reside in Bonaire with their two children, Isabella, 6, and Cooper, 4. Brandon Smith, who was born and raised in Bainbridge and is also a U.S. Army veteran, works as a program manager at Robins Air Force Base. Lorraine Smith moved to Georgia 10 years ago

after meeting her future husband when they were in drill sergeant school together at Fort Jackson, S.C. Smith joined the Army Reserves while an undergraduate at Stony Brook University and still serves one weekend per month and two weeks per year. She said her military training has enhanced her leadership skills in myriad ways. “The military is a lot of who I am today between the concept of team and the discipline,” Smith said. “And I feel like I have a double dose of leadership, not just in my civilian job, but also from the military side. People only see the yelling and screaming side of a drill sergeant, but drill sergeants are trainers. That’s the bottom line. In nine weeks you have to take a civilian and transform them into a soldier.” Of her year-long stint in Iraq, Smith recalled: “When people wonder how I have good employee engagement scores or care about employee engagement, it’s because my first set of employees was in Iraq. They were my soldiers, and they had weapons in their hands. So you have to learn very quickly how to get people to do what you need them to do. That was being responsible at 23 years old for people’s health and welfare. At that time when we were in Iraq we were rationing water, never mind cold water in 120 degree weather, but rationing water and we were eating meals ready-to-eat. And so I learned a lot of leadership lessons in Iraq. When I came back, that’s when I was asked to be a supervisor in

the laboratory in New York.” Among Smith’s other management qualifications is her Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. She is also certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt, which is a set of

tools and techniques for process improvement which she uses to achieve operational effectiveness. Smith said she utilizes what she’s learned through Six Sigma in her management of MCH, particularly as it relates to the most efficient use of the building and its processes. Hospital Authority of Monroe

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 35 her to death.’ And so someone who could fit that well into this community with that spirit, that much can-do attitude, is someone we need to make sure we keep here.” Tolbert said MCH’s management services agreement with Navicent Health actually allows Navicent to name MCH’s CEO, but both Tolbert and Navicent Executive Vice President Rhonda Perry, to whom Smith reports, believed MCH should maintain the stability that Pearce, Smith and interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Judy Ware had already brought. Smith said, “I think it was important to Rhonda and Todd that the trajectory the hospital is already on not get changed. We’re already heading down such a great path. Census has increased two-fold. We’re finally having positive margins. Our quality scores are being measured. And this final piece of construction, which is in the works now, that’s just going to be the icing on the cake. We still have a long way to go, but we’re just going to keep fine-tuning and fine-tuning every day.” Smith said one of the biggest advantages of MCH’s partnership with Navicent is that by having Navicent managing the hospital, it nets MCH the full support of the Navicent Health System U.S. Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Lorraine Smith, first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquar- medical conglomerate. ters Company, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), and her U.S. Army veteran “When you get one of us, you husband, Brandon Smith, with their 4-year-old son, Cooper, and their 6-year-old daughter, get the entire backing of the Isabella. health system,” Smith said. “So you get in a lot of ways every County chairman Todd Tolbert, Tolbert said, “Lorraine came single person in the health who advocated Smith’s selection, in with obvious leadership system with their subject matter said he’s seen Smith’s talents as skills and the discipline to take, expertise, their ability to lend a a problem solver on display all which I think was probably helping hand. The idea is not to ready. both her military training and nickel and dime everything but “The first thing that impressed her Sigma Six training, and look it’s to make sure there is health me about Lorraine wasn’t her at what are the issues we have care locally. Our relationship positive attitude really because to resolve to be a functioning there are people with a positive hospital and to give good quality can really be a win-win situation attitude that can’t do anything,” service. So all the metrics she is Tolbert said. “But the second tracking are I think standard in meeting she was there, she put the industry, but as far as I could a projector up on the wall and tell no one was tracking them at showed where we were as far our hospital. I said immediately as the quality of service that we I’ve got to take that up to the are providing at this hospital. commissioners. And right there a lightbulb went They’ve got to understand on, and I was like, ‘That’s what we’re on track and we have we’re missing.’ This building isn’t somebody in charge who a hospital. It’s just a building. It’s understands that part of it. all of the people and all of the What it boiled down to is the training and all of the expertise patient was the most important. and all of the leadership inside Everybody else in the whole the building that is what makes organization all the way up to it a hospital. So when I saw the Authority members have Lorraine put that up there, to support that patient coming we’ve got somebody now that through the door. And Lorraine is tracking it and improving in my mind was clearly focused the quality of service and on the patient experience all the patientcare.” way up to the top because she Tolbert said once it was was wanting to resolve problems evident that the hospital had and conflicts as they came been saved through last year’s up to make sure they didn’t referendum, it was incumbent on reach the service levels at the the Authority to identify a person patient level in the rooms. And in charge to enable the hospital everybody just gets along with to take its next steps toward her. The commissioners met her quality and financial excellence. once, and they were like, ‘I love

when we talk about the swing bed sand leveraging and taking off the Medical Center’s hands the low acuity patients to make room for the higher acuity patients. It’s really a win-win for all of us.” Tolbert said an example of this partnership was Navicent sending Paul Barkley, the director of operations at Navicent Health Baldwin, to improve conditions in MCH’s lab. Tolbert said the Joint Commission gave a negative report the first time they inspected the lab but MCH resolved every issue once Barkley evaluated it free of charge. Smith said she’s learned under Pearce at both The Medical Center of Peach County and MCH the importance of both changing the culture of the facility and making sure employees know how important they are to the hospital’s success and feel valued. “It’s getting down to the staff and letting them know that they can do it,” Smith said. “Having that positive attitude toward the addition of work. I think sometimes people think that good leadership is coddling or not pushing people to do more or be tough. But you can still be what I call ‘gentle’ but with a firm hand.” As part of Smith’s selection, Tolbert said Smith’s salary, benefits and retirement will be paid by MCH, rather than Navicent, but the exact figures are still under negotiation. He said MCH will continue to pay Navicent $450,000 this year as well as $500,000 annually over the next three years for management services. Tolbert said, “When you look at all the things that Navicent Health has done for us, they’ve clearly earned their fee.

36 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 37

1 - 389th Change of Command

38 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Army Reserve first sergeant associates new CEO position with lessons learned from drill sergeant duty By Maj. Michelle Lunato 98th Training Division Public Affairs Officer

Juggling the responsibilities of both a civilian career and a military career just got a little tougher—and more rewarding— for Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Lorraine Smith. The former drill sergeant, who is now a first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), just became the Chief Executive Officer for the Monroe County Hospital, a Navicent Health Partner, and attributes the new promotion to some skills learned while in uniform and on the trail. The Bonaire, Georgia resident served as an Army Reserve drill sergeant for about three years, with a full year of that time on the trail at Fort Benning. While molding civilians into Soldiers, Smith said she learned through her blunders of thinking in the moment and not five to seven steps out.“I had to figure that out the hard way as a drill sergeant, and so now, in my civilian career at the hospital, I really try to always focus a few steps out, rather than what’s immediately in front of me.” In time, she realized that she

needed to be more strategic with her plans, considering third- and fourth-order effects. She also came to learn that results were mandatory, and they needed to be quick since the time frame for basic training was only about nine weeks.“You really don’t have much time to mess around in getting things done. And so those same principles apply in the hospital environment in just that speed to execution of getting things accomplished and seeing them all the way through.” In teaching different kinds of civilians the skills to be a Soldier, Smith said learned the art of packaging information. People all learn in different ways, and respond to different techniques, said Smith.“I learned that as an Army Reserve drill sergeant that it’s not always one size fits all… At one point you have to adapt to individuals and realize, what is it that they need for them to be successful, and that may be different than what everyone else needs.” Now, as a division headquarters first sergeant, a role in which many of the Soldiers she manages out rank her, she still has to get results. This change in environment required the

U.S. Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Lorraine Smith, first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), with her 4-year-old son, Cooper, and her 6-year-old daughter, Isabella.

Brooklyn, New York native to use different routes to get to the same destination.“It’s a different dynamic. It definitely sharpened my people skills and the way I approach things and people. It’s not about, hey, do this because I said so. It’s more about trying to figure out what motivates that person to get something done for the team.” Whether it’s in basic training or at the division headquarters, Smith says she has learned that the presentation of information, especially new initiatives, is critical to mission success. Through these experiences and her Sigma Six Black Belt certification, she knows a lot of hard work is wasted when people don’t collaborate and present their ideas in a way that others can receive it.“As leaders, we need to explain why an initiative is important... We have to put things on the table to see, so there are no questions on why

we are doing this or that.” It was this exact attention to detail and take-charge attitude that earned Smith the promotion, according to Todd Tolbert, Monroe County chairman.“Lorraine came in with obvious leadership skills and the discipline to take, which I think was probably both her military training and her Sigma Six training, and look at what are the issues we have to resolve to be a functioning hospital and to give good quality service,” he said in an interview with The Monroe County Reporter. Even with all her success, leadership experience and a combat tour to Iraq in 2003, Smith said she still has moments of doubts and struggles with confidence.“It’s amazing how much I second-guess myself, and I feel unsure about a lot of things I’m doing. So, that’s why I try to collaborate with other leaders or Soldiers and bounce ideas off of

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 39 each other, when time permits of course.” The ideas that people have can add a valuable outlook on an issue, especially when they come from employees/Soldiers who are not just aware of a problem, but have to operate within that problem, said Smith.“They have a completely different perspective on how problems can be solved, or even know better than us, what the problem really is.” Collaboration and listening does not mean being soft though. The former drill sergeant openly admits she is persistent. Whether it’s via e-mails, face-to-face conversations, phone calls, texts or meetings, she is going to get things done. It’s a successful tactic she has learned over the years and knows it works from her own experiences on the receiving end.“I know I always respond to people who are persistent, because I feel like I know they are coming back – let me just get done what needs to get done for them. And that seems to have worked well for me too.” Time management has been an invaluable skill that she has learned through her military and civilian roles as well. As the mother of a 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, this CitizenSoldier stays at “full throttle” as she juggles her children’s piano and swimming lessons between both her busy Army Reserve and civilian roles. Fortunately, she and her husband, Brandon Smith, a U.S. Army veteran who is in a doctorate program at the University of Georgia outside of his own job, are on the same page. “Thank goodness for my husband who is completely involved in our everyday life aspects and has a demanding career himself. So we are all completely engaged at our house.”To get it all done, they started shutting off the television and cutting out little things that didn’t add value to their lives. With all the different microcommunities they are involved in—Army Reserve, medical field, school, working out, their kids’ activities, families, neighbors— they have built up a strong support system. These various groups are critical to surviving the hectic pace of multiple responsibilities.“That way, when you get into a jam, it’s not like everything is on fire,” said the mom who admits to needing help from time to time. To save even more time, Smith and her husband do a lot of mass cooking on the weekends and limit their trips to restaurants, both of which helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle.“You have to eat left overs to survive at my house. There is no such thing as a fresh meal every night. That’s just not going to happen.” All those little details and tweaks to daily life, free up the

time to manage two very busy roles, which are more similar than many realize. In her Army Reserve role, it is all about managing Soldier readiness. In her civilian role at the hospital, it is all about managing the hospital’s readiness and productivity. Both jobs require metrics and people skills, and are surprisingly alike, said Smith.“You’d be shocked at how many similarities there are between the civilian world and the military world, especially once you start to get into the executive levels.” The civilian and military metrics of strategic initiatives, planning forecasts and personnel readiness stats all boil down to one thing—people.“Everything I do is connected to a person, and I feel a sense of responsibility. I also feel this sense of pride, and in a lot of ways, love. I start to think, I care about this person, and I want to see them be successful.” As a first sergeant now, she also feels the responsibility to give back.“Now, there are other Soldiers who need to see me as a mentor. I am setting an example of how maybe other females Soldiers, or other just other Soldiers, want to be one day.” This constant drive to push and give is just something this Army Reserve Soldier does. She knows no other way.“That sort of race to improvement has always driven me to just do things better and better. And, it’s really the same standard I hold myself to, so it’s never enough in a way. I am always trying to be better, be healthier, be more in shape, be more educated, whatever.” Of course, not everyone can successfully apply that kind of drive for results onto other people. Yet, Smith always seems to find a way, says Col. Michael Ansay, former deputy commander, 98th Training Division (IET). “She seems to have the perfect leadership personality that is steadfast and firm, but warm too. I think she could send people to be executed and make them feel good about it.” After the hospital board met the Citizen-Soldier, they were hooked too, said Tolbert in his interview with The Monroe County Reporter. “And so someone who could fit that well into this community with that spirit, that much can-do attitude, is someone we need to make sure we keep here.” In her new role as CEO at the hospital, Smith said she will need to pull from her military experiences just as much as she uses her civilian skills while in uniform. When combined with her personal drive, she reports, that it just all seems to work for her.“I’ve always been that type of person who likes to make things better. So whether it’s a space like my home, or turning civilians into Soldiers, or everything we do in

U.S. Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Lorraine Smith, first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), with the division command sergeant major and commanding general, Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest and Brig. Gen. Miles Davis.

healthcare that relates down to a patient and making life better for them, I feel like I have this inner drive to always make things better, to make myself better, to

make my surroundings better, to make the people I know better, and try to push those things along. And surprisingly, people let me.”

40 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

1st Brigade, 98th Training Division Wins DoD Reserve Family Readiness Award By Maj. Michelle Lunato Public Affairs Officer 98th Training Division (IET)

Soldiers and Civilians of the Family Readiness Group from 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) were awarded the 2017 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. March 23, 2018. The award, which was established in 2000, recognizes the National Guard and Reserve units, one from each of the seven reserve components, with the very best military Family support program. Being acknowledged as the unit with the best Family program across the U.S. Army Reserve is fabulous, said Georgette Morgan, the 98th Training Division Family Readiness support assistant who submitted 1st Brigade for the national award.“When I started here back in 2013, there was no FRG [family readiness group] anything. So in the last year, 1st Brigade has really stepped up and gotten their FRG program together.” They didn’t just put any program together though, they created a multifaceted program committed to the Soldiers and Families, said Brig. Gen. Miles Davis, commanding general, 98th Training Division (IET).“It’s truly a program that lives what we are trying to do with Family Readiness.They are connected with the Soldiers.They connected with the Families. They understand the needs of the Families and Soldiers, and they have the community tied into the whole organization. It’s truly an outstanding example of what we want Family Readiness to be.” Getting the Family Readiness program from zero to multifaceted was no easy task, said Suzanne Matusiewicz, Family Readiness

group leader for 1st Brigade. “We went from having no FRG to having a fully functional and vibrant FRG in a year. In order to make things like that happen, you have to network, involve yourself in the community and talk to people who’ve had experience.” Matusiewicz, a combat veteran herself, volunteers because she remembers what it was like to deploy as a single Soldier and her unit’s FRG was her only support system.“I had very little support, but the support I did have, came from the VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars]. It came from the USO [United Service Organizations]. It came from schools writing letters.”

It was the little things that these FRG volunteers and sponsors did for her that made her stay focused on her mission and kept her spirits up.“In 1995, we didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t have computers. We were out in the middle of nowhere, and just to get that package—that little gift…[deep sigh]. I still have that card to this day.” Now, years later, Matusiewicz is a key player in 1st Brigade’s DoDrecognized program. She spends a number of hours each networking and researching various ideas or benefits to help the brigade’s Soldiers. She’s also been known to travel from her home in Chicago to

FRG events in Georgia just because she wants “to give back and help the people who are now serving.” However, she refuses to take any large portion of the accolades, saying she was just part of a great team.“We have a very strong command team that’s very profamily, and we don’t define family as your traditional husband, wife and children,” said the FRG leader who has no Family in the brigade she volunteers for.“Family is whoever the Soldier says it is. And, we welcome everyone.That makes such a big difference.” It’s the power behind that diverse group that gives this Family program its momentum, said Morgan.“It’s in the name itself— Family Readiness Group—one person cannot do it.” Over the years, she’s seen people try to do it themselves.“But that doesn’t ever work in the long run because that person just breaks. It’s just too much.” So according to the unit, the key to their success has been teamwork between civilian volunteers, sponsors and Army Reserve Soldiers acting as liaisons between them and the rest of the unit. With a team of effort and ideas, the award-winning Army Reserve program had everything from a food pantry to individual Families being sponsored for Christmas presents. However, it wasn’t all about giving things away and having bake sales.“Today’s FRG is not what yesterday’s FRG was,” said

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 41

Matusiewicz.“It’s nothing like that. It’s about training. It’s about educating the Families on what benefits are available.” For example, 1st Brigade FRG assisted getting help for displaced Families and Soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. They coordinated the building of ramps at homes and listened to what the Soldiers wanted and needed. Of course, volunteers and sponsors can all work really hard, and an FRG can still fail, if there

is no commander support. That was not the case at 1st Brigade. Their Family program flourished because their commander, Col. Timothy Pulley, really inserted himself into the FRG, which is really important, said Morgan.“It’s a commander’s program, and him working closely with their liaison, Staff Sgt. [Christina] Hawkins, and their two volunteers, that is really what pulled them all together. And that is what you need. You have to have a backbone to an FRG and

Family Readiness Program. And that’s what it was: Col. Pulley, the volunteers, the Family Readiness Liaisons. That’s what made it.” Whatever the reasons behind 1st Brigade’s Family Program success, the DoD saw something that stood out to prompt recognizing them as the top Army Reserve Family Program. As FRG civilians and servicemembers from the other components—Army National Guard, Marine Corps Reserve,

Navy Reserve, Air Guard, Air Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve—gathered together in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, The Honorable Robert Wilkie, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and host of the ceremony, explained how much the DoD appreciates the Reserve forces and their Families. “On behalf of a grateful Secretary of Defense, and hopefully a grateful Nation, thank you for carrying the torch of freedom and carrying on the legacy that has made the Nation the envy of the world and continues to awe this planet.” Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, U.S. Air Force (Ret), then stepped up to say that the DoD knows the value of a good Family Readiness Program and equates them to a “critical weapon system” behind our forces’ success.“Many of you have never worn the uniform, but you have borne the weight.” Before the 1st Brigade FRG team accepted their awards, Davis personally thanked the team, explaining to the crowd just how phenomenal Col. Pulley’s team has been. “As a commander, you talk about what you want a Family Readiness Program to be, and this is it. This is truly it. It’s what every commander wants to have.” And not only that, he added,“They have made it an organization that people want to be in.”

42 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Family Readiness Gives Back to Volunteers By Maj. Michelle Lunato 98th Public Affairs Officer

Volunteers are the unsung heroes behind nearly every family readiness group, but U.S. Army Reserve FRG leaders at Fort Benning decided to change that with a tune of appreciation. Leaders of the 718th Engineer Company and the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), gathered together on February 24, 2018 at the U.S. Army Reserve Center at Fort Benning to give a special thanks to those who selflessly serve on a regular basis. “It is because of you all that we can help,” said Erica Quinzon, the FRG Leader for the 718th Engineer Company, who organized the Thank You Luncheon, which was complete with awards and certificates of appreciation. The U.S. Army Reserve understands the value of Families, said Command Sergeant Maj. Todd Priest, division command sergeant major, 98th Training Division (IET). “One of the pillars of readiness is family readiness. We cannot deploy to combat without those Families and sponsors who support that process,” he said to the crowd of volunteers and sponsors. “You are all vital to our success.” The countless efforts by individuals and organizations has truly made a difference and we wanted to let you know we appreciate it, said 2nd Lt. Kenneth Travis, acting commander of the 718th Engineer Company. “I want to thank you for what you do for our Soldiers, and really creating

a climate of inclusivity within our ranks.” Quinzon started the official acknowledgement of thanks by calling up a sponsor who had been at her side from the start, Mary Lou Austin, chief executive officer, United Service Organization – Georgia. “This lady has been with us from the beginning, when no one else would give us the time of the day.” Austin, as well as many of the other individuals being acknowledged that day, was given some heartfelt thanks, a certificate of appreciation and a 98th Iroquois Tomahawk. Austin said she never had any second thoughts about helping when Quinzon contacted her. “Being an Army wife, I know what Families go through, and I know what readiness means.” Many know the USO for their support centers at airports and the coordination of entertainment for deployed troops, but they do so much more, said Austin. With the mission of strengthening service men and women and connecting them to communities, Austin said her organization is about helping those behind-the-scenes folks too. “We are the force behind the force, so to speak.” U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers understand the force-behind-theforce and its value as they have made up a large percentage of the deployment rates for years, said Suzanne Matusiewicz, FRG leader for 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), who is a veteran herself. However, on the down side, Army Reserve FRGs

2nd Lt. Kenneth Travis, acting commander of the 718th Engineer Company, presents Mary Lou Austin, chief executive officer, United Service Organization – Georgia, with a certificate of appreciation during a Thank You Luncheon at the U.S. Army Reserve Center on Fort Benning, Georgia February 24, 2018.

do not always have all the same resources as their counterparts on the active duty side. With this reality, it was even more critical to recognize our community partners who support our Reserve Soldiers, said Matusiewicz. “They are the foundation of how we build up our family support.” Of course, saying thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors was more than just handing out some certificates, said Matusiewicz. “It’s the right thing to do when somebody does something for you. You need to say thank you in whatever way

is meaningful and special to you. That is what my grandma taught me – you say thank you.” Receiving genuine thanks from the 718th Engineer Company and the 98th Training Division may not have been needed for many of the regular volunteers and sponsors, but it was warmly received as smiles, hugs and a few tears of gratitude could be seen throughout the event. The tokens of appreciation will also be a way to let others, who could not be at the event, know their efforts are not forgotten, said Austin. “We can take this award

Division Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), thanks Erica Quinzon, Family Readiness Group Leader for the 718th Engineer Company, for all her tireless efforts in helping U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, during an FRG luncheon on February 24, 2018.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 43

Command Sergeant Maj. Todd Priest, division command sergeant major, 98th Training Division (IET) presents Suzanne Matusiewicz, family readiness group leader for 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) with a certificate of appreciation for all her hard work in helping the U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 98th Training Division. Suzanne Matusiewicz, family readiness group leader for 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET); Mary Lou Austin, chief executive officer, United Service Organization – Georgia; and Erica Quinzon, family readiness group leader for 718th Engineer Company; all take a moment for a group picture during a Thank You Luncheon on February 24, 2018 at the Fort Benning, Georgia U.S. Army Reserve Center.

back to the USO community and show them: ‘Wow, we are here to support them, but, you know what, they are so thankful for our support.’” Thankful is an understatement according to Quinzon who listed a number of examples on how each person and organization had helped the Reserve Soldiers of both the 718th and the 98th. “They supported us immensely, and they really didn’t have to at all,” she said specifically about Operation Home Front – Team Benning who helped organize getting school supplies for over 90 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers’

Families. Helping those in need is just standard operating procedure for Team Benning though, said Marissa Wentling, Operation Home Front –Team Benning member and the 2018 Benning Military Spouse of the Year. “I totally understand the challenges of trying to get family support.” And to Team Benning, a Soldier in need is a Soldier in need, even if they are in the Reserve component. “We are the same team here,” said Wentling. The ability to coordinate across component and unit lines and work together is what makes our

Unit leaders and family readiness group leaders of both the 718th Engineer Company and the 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) offer a certificate of appreciation to Operation Home Front - Team Benning during a Thank You Luncheon at Fort Benning’s U.S. Army Reserve Center on February 24, 2018. Operation Home Front volunteers were directly responsible for organizing back-to-school supplies for over 90 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers stationed in the Fort Benning area, and continue to help the Army Reserve family readiness group on a regular basis.

FRG work so well, said Quinzon. “It is because of our collaboration between all of our units that we are able to provide such a large capacity of resources to our Soldiers and their Families.” And for many of the regular volunteers, the opportunity to provide that support is all the thanks they need, said Eron Matthew Grigg, quartermaster and judge advocate of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #10558 in Cataula, Georgia. “Our mission is to honor the dead by helping the living.” As a veteran of two combat tours, Grigg said he knows just how vital supporting the FRGs is, especially the ones in his area.

“Keeping the families ready so that the Soldiers minds can be on the mission out in the field is ridiculously important.” Quinzon reiterated that same message as she officially ended the Thank You Luncheon with sincere appreciation for all the volunteers and community partners, and reminded them that as long as there were Soldiers, there will be an FRG. “I hope you all will continue to support our units through whatever may come. We never know what’s going to come tomorrow. We never know. But, we are so confident that we can handle anything because we have all of you behind us.”




44 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 45


8TH ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT SEPT. 24TH 2018 Springtime and summer are busy times for the 108th Griffon Association and its members. Planning and early stages of execution, including updating and revising tournament messaging, and identifying and contacting sponsors and volunteers are getting underway for the 8th Annual Soldiers’ and Families’ Golf Tournament scheduled for the 24th of September in 2018. This time of year starts a six-seven months process of bringing together all aspects of a successful golf tournament and means lots of work for Griffon Association supporters including members and our friends at Knight Communications without whose help we could not pull things off. Most of the money the association has available comes from proceeds of the tournament, which netted us just a little over $11,000 in 2017.

Springtime is also when our scholarship committee composed of Lin Ingram, Bob Gwaltney, and Brian Donnelly starts accepting (deadline of 1 April) and reviewing scholarship applications from young men and women who are children/grandchildren of both active reserve Soldiers and honorably retired members of the 108th Training Command and its subordinate units. Also eligible for consideration are Soldiers themselves from those units, who are pursuing postsecondary education. The committee develops an order of merit list, which it submits to the Board of the Griffon Association with recommendations concerning the applications received. Much work goes into reviewing the applications, identifying an order of merit list and making recommendations to the board. The board then reviews the committee’s recommendations, selects the winners and decides on the amounts awarded based on the amount of funds the Association has available. Checks go out in late June or early July. For future

reference, a generic application good for any year is available by visiting our website at

Annual Picnic Finally, our annual picnic is a spring/summer staple of the Griffon Association year. In 2018, the picnic will be at Latta Plantation outside of Charlotte on May 5 beginning at 1100. We will have a BarBQue lunch, social time with old friends and an opportunity to attend a WWII reenactment located near our picnic site. More information is located on our webpage of or by contacting Skip McCartney at Please take this opportunity to enjoy camaraderie with friends with mutual interests and a very good meal at a reasonable price. As you might suspect all this activity requires the support of many volunteers. If you enjoy spending a little time working for a good cause and supporting Soldiers and their families, please consider joining us in our efforts. A membership application can be obtained from our website.

8 Keys to Success Campus

Developed, in part, by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and more than 100 education experts, the 8 KEYS TO SUCCESS ON CAMPUS are eight concrete steps that can help veterans and service members transition into the classroom and thrive once they are there. Veterans at SWCC, in addition to having the benefit of our academic and career counselors, can also work with specialists in the Veteran’s Upward Bound Program and a Veteran’s Affairs Officer.


Richlands, VA


46 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Military Resources Travel USA 53 B uckle Up for All New Excitement at Universal Orlando ResortTM

54 Visit Panama City Beach: Year-Round Sunshine

56 Find Your Adventure at Fort Dodge 58 Sip, Savor, Shop and Enjoy your Stay in Kent County Maryland

60 S unshine, Sand and Seafood


in Gulf Shores Alabama

62 E njoy Waterfalls, Summer Concerts and More With a Visit to Hendersonville, N.C.

63 Cedar Hill, Texas: A Breath of Fresh Air 47 Serving Those Who Serve 48 C hoosing a Career in Art and Design

50 29 Steps to Get Through Transition


64 Experience History at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

66 Heart of Appalachia, Virginia 67 Sevierville, TN Summer Fun to Fit Everyone 68 Chattanooga: Trolley Tours, Street Parties, Music Festivals and More



THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 47

Serving Those Who Serve Serious psychological issues are a fact of life for all Americans. Those who serve our country face the additional stress of combat and the demands of service deployment as well as other stress factors. For civilians and military alike, ignoring the issue will not make it go away.

“The fear of the unknown is very real. There is nothing more scare than surrendering your health and welfare to a group of strangers. This program is everything it has claimed to be and more. I came here with nothing but anger, resentment, fear and confusion. I now have the tools to deal with each. This is where you learn how to take a knee and get back up.” Female, Air Force By Tera Rudloff, MBA

Director of Business Development at UBH Denton

Dedicated to You The Military Program at UBH Denton is one of the nation’s oldest and most-experienced dedicated military programs. Staff has deep experience working with service members in all branches and at every level of the military. It is an honor and privilege to help reclaim lives of those who serve the United States. Each individual has a customized treatment plan to address individual challenges and utilize strengths.

Safe Haven The Safe Haven program identifies harmful, difficult-tochange beliefs that result in selfdefeating behaviors and coping styles. Our program challenges those beliefs and builds new strategies for success. Safe Haven treats a variety of long-standing emotional difficulties including: Military Sexual Trauma (MST), chronic psychiatric challenges such as depression and anxiety, self-harm, childhood sexual abuse, and domestic violence and behaviors.

Chemical Dependency Program

The Chemical Dependency Program aims to treat substance use disorders (with or without PTSD). The program aims to address the physical, behavioral, as well as the psychological factors of substance use disorders.The Military Program at UBH Denton offers a comfortable and safe detox to save lives, and a proven method for achieving a life free of drugs and alcohol.

Trauma Program Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered when you experience or witness a terrifying event.The Military Trauma program addresses triggers, flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. UBH treats PTSD using evidence-based Cognitive Processing Therapy, the gold standard for treatment of PTSD.

The Ross Institute for Trauma In addition to the Military Program at UBH Denton,The Ross Institute for Trauma is a dedicated unit which focuses specifically on the treating clients with disorders related to unresolved trauma and multiple addictions.The program is led by internationally respected physician, Colin A. Ross, MD.The

“You will enter this program at your weakest, most vulnerable place. The safe environment will allow you to open up in a judgement and shame-free zone.” Male, Army

Trauma Program employs a multidisciplinary approach where team members work collaboratively to address the immediate crisis, improve the person’s ability to maintain or increase positive feelings, and strengthen ego.

Joining UBH Denton Physical exercise helps patients relieve stress and work through emotional difficulties, as well as build positive self-esteem and improve cell functioning throughout the body. UBH offers physical training via cardiovascular exercise equipment, a gymnasium, workout

room and weight training.Addedvalue services include yoga classes and acupuncture. Crisis happens any time and can be addressed quickly by our intake staff.Treatment decisions are typically made within 30 minutes of the initial call.Weekly clinical update with treatment and command happens every Tuesday.There is regular communication with the clinical team and physicians. Contact the care center for more information at 940.320.8100 or Toll Free at 888.320.8108.The team at UBH Denton is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

48 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

We’ve all heard it:“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Indeed, choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. But let’s be honest. When it comes down to it, people tend to choose a career based on pay, not because they’re passionate about the work. In recent years, however, more people are turning to art and design careers. Service members and veterans are discovering that they can follow their dreams by pursuing degrees in art and design — and still get paid.Transitioning from military service to higher education doesn’t mean your military experience is a thing of the past. A 21st century art and design education provides military students with the tools and entrepreneurial knowledge needed to establish a successful career in the arts. A thriving, well-paid career in creative fields such as visual arts, game development, web design, or communications may seem difficult to achieve, but for motivated individuals, all it often takes is a school that can nourish that passion and equip students with the necessary skills. Elisa Stephens, President of the Academy of Art University, says,“What we believe in is that anyone with commitment and passion can learn the skills necessary and that the creative class that we are training here are the problemsolvers and visionaries of tomorrow.” So if you have the passion and commitment, then Academy of Art University is a good fit for you.To us, the qualities required in the military such as determination, dedication, and drive are precisely what our students need to thrive and succeed. Academy of Art University isn’t your typical art and design school. Over the past 90 years, the Academy has evolved to meet the needs of a wide array of students in various industries and professions. With over 30 creative programs, the Academy has been very successful in building the artists of tomorrow — artists who have gone on to create Super Bowl commercials, win Emmy and Oscar® awards, engineer some of the hottest videos games, produce blockbuster movies, establish their own companies and more. As one of the top art schools in the country, the Academy has created an environment that supports learning and builds successful careers by excelling in three key areas: • Equipment and Facilities: We offer some

of the best and newest technologies, such as soundstages, voiceover studios, high-end PC and MAC workstations, robotics labs, metal shops, fully-equipped woodshops, industrylevel anchor desks and teleprompters, the latest cameras (robotic, 4K, and 360-degree immersive), and the largest green screen in Northern California — unmatched when compared to other schools around the country. • Working Instructors: Learn from instructors, job coaches, and mentors armed with years of experience in their respective fields and regarded as some of the best industry professionals. • Innovative Curriculum: We are always looking ahead and incorporating new technologies — such as drone flying, virtual reality, and augmented reality — into our degree programs. The Academy is also the only art and design school in the country with an athletics department in the NCAA Division II. We are extremely proud of our student athletes regularly competing and winning on the national stage. Just recently, Academy junior and 2016 Rio Olympics Olympic Bronze Medalist Mobolade Ajomale won his 6th NCAA Division II National Title.

A Student Journey “A scout has to do three things: shoot, move, and communicate,” says former US Army recon scout Daryn LaBier.“I feel this is also appropriate as a photographer.”After graduating with an MFA in Photography from the Academy, LaBier found a niche in commissioned work for companies that create apparel for hunters, extreme campers and the military. LaBier urges other vets to explore their artistic side:“Take all the things that made you a soldier, all the skills to be mission-oriented.You can apply those toward a degree in the arts.” A former botanist, Eden Slezin jumped from one career to the next, touring twice overseas during his six years in the United States Marine Corps as captain and aviation intelligence officer. One day, inspiration struck, and he started a small company making men’s vacation clothing. “Very quickly, I knew this was the path for me,” he says.“Once I found my passion, I set out to master the craft by enrolling in the Fashion Design MFA degree program at Academy of Art

University.” Immersing himself in the craft at the Academy was hard work, but following his passion revealed endless opportunities. Slezin’s skill and dedication caught the attention of department faculty, earning him and eight fellow student designers the chance to debut their collections at New York Fashion Week. In September 2017, he presented his first clothing line on the highly coveted runway.

Veteran Support For service members and veterans, the Academy of Art offers a unique blend of benefits and resources: All G.I. Bill® benefits are welcome at the Academy. Each benefit depends on the student’s VA-determined status, but according to Kenneth Ortiz, associate director of financial aid, a majority of current students utilize Chapter 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Additionally, the Academy is enrolled in other aid programs like the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps with any veteran expenses exceeding the VA’s GI Bill annual cap.“The school will cover 50 percent of [the eligible student’s] tuition and fees to match what the VA will pay,” says Ortiz.“Not all schools are Yellow Ribbon schools and if they are, sometimes they’ll have a program limit. At the Academy, any veteran who the VA determines is eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program will receive the Yellow Program match.”

Veteran Resources The Academy’s 79 New Montgomery campus houses the Veterans Resource Center (VRC). Here, veterans can enroll for their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) identification card and healthcare, as well as enjoy amenities like the lounge area and multiple workstations. For Marine combat veteran, School of Illustration student, and Veterans Club President Austin Coulter,“having a [veterans] resource center like this helps us better connect with the services we need.” With the demand for and value of creativity rising, the skills that veterans and service members learn at an art and design school like the Academy can make a career in the creative arts possible. Whether you are looking to study on-site or online, as long as you have the passion and commitment, then the Academy has the tools to help you create your own legacy.

50 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

29 Steps

to Get Through Transition Written by David A. Lee, Director of Military Programs at CVS Health

Going through transition myself as well as working with other transitioning service members I have had an opportunity to see what works and doesn’t work and heard and experienced the frustration associated with leaving the military and finding civilian employment.The following are a list of tips I have developed over the years and will continue to refine as I learn more.

interview is an opportunity to sell yourself, something most of us are not good at and makes us uncomfortable.

Plan Early, Plan Often

Corporate Recruiters are not Career Counselors

Everyone leaves service someday; the sooner you prepare for the transition the better off you will be.Take advantage of education benefits, build a network, and reach out to a company where you may want to work and ask them for the experience they recommend you have before you join them.

Get Resume Help Get resume and interviewing help.There are several non-profit organizations that can help with these.Your resume needs to help you stand out and highlight why a company should hire you.Your

Network, Network, Network. People (veterans and nonveterans) who are referred to a company have a 20 percent chance of being hired. Applying to a job without a referral and your odds drop to 1.2 percent.

Don’t expect a corporate recruiter to find a job for you. Do your own research and ask intelligent questions of a recruiter that helps you understand how your experience can best be used by a company.

Find a Buddy The transition process is frustrating and you need a buddy to help you stay positive. A negative attitude will come across in an interview and cost you a job.Your buddy can help you focus on the things that you can control.

Develop an Elevator Pitch You never know when and where you will encounter someone who can help you find a job. You need to be able to quickly communicate this to anyone, anywhere in a way that makes you stand out from other candidates.

Have Realistic Expectations. Just because you lead 100 people in the military does not mean that you will get a job leading 100 people in corporate America. Unless you have skills (beyond leadership) that are directly transferable to a company, then you should expect to take a step back to gain experience that they require.

Get Business Cards Part of your elevator pitch needs to include handing someone your business card. Keep it professional but make it easy for them to remember you later.

Gather Intel Do your research on companies where you may want to work.You

need this information to decide if you want to work there and then to help get the job. Asking questions during an interview is important and you need this research to ask the right questions.

Add to Your Toolkit There are programs that can help you get certified as a program manager, provide you certifications companies seek and fellowship opportunities. Get as many of these as you can so you stand out among other candidates for a job.

Continue Professional Development Set aside time to read, take classes and attend events that develop you for a career outside the military. Do this even after you transition and are searching for job.

LinkedIn LinkedIn is more than a digital resume. Share ideas through posts that may help someone gain insight into who you are. Join groups to network with others and to ask for help. Remember that everything

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 51 you like or comment on may be seen by someone who can help you find a job, so stay positive!

each year and can’t respond to everyone.You haven’t lost until you stop trying!

Ask the Right Questions

Network, Network, Network

Most service members ask three questions regarding their next career: 1. What will I do? 2. Where will I do it? 3. How much will I be paid? Most fail to ask… Is the culture of this company a good fit for me?

Yes, this was Tip #3 but it is worth repeating. Check out LinkedIn Group: Veteran Mentor Network

Translate Your Skills You need to help someone who never served understand how your experience is relevant to their company and job. HOWEVER, don’t go so far that another veteran has no idea what you did in the military. List your military title and the translation on your resume so veterans can help hiring managers understand why they should hire you.

TAP is NOT Enough TAP will begin to prepare you for the job search process but it will not prepare you for what happens beginning with your first day of employment.

Don’t Take the Process Personally Don’t take the lack of feedback or rejection personally. Recruiters interact with thousands of people

Be Professional With less than seven percent of the population having military experience you may be the first veteran someone has met.

Stay Positive Don’t use social media to complain about your transition. It’s not going to help you find a job. Save the complaints for when you are offline and talking to a buddy. You will stand out much better focusing on the positive.

Learn the Recruiting Process Companies have different processes for recruiting. Learn how they operate. On average it takes 30-60 days to fill a job once it is posted so don’t expect an answer back the day after you apply. Some companies collect all applicants before reviewing others begin right away.

Find Someone Who Has Done the Job LinkedIn can be a great source for finding former employees who

have worked at a company you are considering or who have even done the job.They may be able to give you some insight that will help you get the job or avoid it.

Take Advantage of Free Help TAP will not prepare you for everything you need.There are lots of non-profits out there that can provide assistance beyond what you get in TAP. In addition, there are apprenticeship programs and fellowship programs that can help with your transition.

Focus Only on What you Can Control The only thing you can control in the interview is your behavior and your responses. Focus on listening carefully — taking notes if necessary — and on controlling your behavior and words.

Present Yourself as the Solution Answer questions in such a way that you are always keeping the hiring company’s requirements and goals in mind, not yours.Your answers should reflect how you fit in with this organizations aims and enhance their objectives.

Prepare and Ask Questions Questions demonstrate how well you prepared for an interview. Ask “what, how, and why” questions that help YOU to control the conversation. Get your interviewer

to share information that helps you be more prepared for the next interview and eventually your job.

What is Important in the Job Focus on what is important for the job. In the military it is not uncommon for leaders to ask about your personal life as well as professional but in a interview you should focus on what is important to do your job.

Save Money for the Transition Unlike civilians who can find a job and then give a two-week notice, you need to give notice first which means you need to plan to support yourself after service and before employment. Know your expenses to determine when you may need a part time job.

Learn about Healthcare It is so easy when you are in uniform.The choices and costs are far more complex once you leave service. If you have a family member with special needs healthcare can be a deciding factor on where to live and work.

Be Humble The best leaders I knew in the military were humble.Your service doesn’t entitle you to anything. It’s your experience that companies want and humility is what they need.

52 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Enjoy the Following

Vacation & Travel Section in Every Issue

Because your time off is well-earned and valuable. Consider visiting one (or more) of these amazing travel destinations!


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 53


Buckle Up for All New Excitement

at Universal Orlando ResortTM Get ready for a full throttle rush of adrenaline as Universal Orlando Resort™ unveils its newest attraction. This spring one of the highestgrossing film franchises of all time comes to life as Universal Studios Florida™ premieres Fast & Furious – Supercharged™, a high-octane ride that lets you and your family live the excitement you’ve seen on the big screen. You’ll encounter all your favorite characters from the films, and be able to see and take your photo with 15 authentic Fast & Furious cars — 12 directly from the films and three created exclusively for the attraction – including Dom’s iconic Dodge Charger and Letty’s Turbo Truck. At the attraction you’ll enter the underground headquarters of the “Fast family.” Inside you’ll make your way through familiar places inspired by the films, like the Family Room and Tej’s high-tech War Room. From there you’ll all board a custom party bus to attend a race afterparty, only to be alerted that the evil Owen Shaw is headed your way. A high-speed chase ensues, and you must rely on the Fast family to lead your family to safety. The ride will also feature Universal Orlando’s new Virtual Line™ technology.You’ll be able to select a time to ride Fast & Furious – Supercharged via the Official Universal Orlando Resort Mobile App or at kiosks located near the attraction entrance.Then, while you wait for your ride time, you and your family can enjoy other experiences throughout Universal Studios™. Along with the rest of the movie, television and popular entertainment-based thrills of

Universal Studios, your family can experience the worlds of legendary heroes at Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, where you can soar above Hogwarts™ castle with Harry Potter™, battle evil-doers alongside Spider-Man™, and escape the jaws of a hungry T. rex in Jurassic Park™. Plus, you can dive into a tropical paradise at Universal’s Volcano Bay™, a water theme park unlike any other. The family fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Sitting in the heart of it all is the Universal CityWalk™ dining and entertainment complex, featuring a variety of restaurants, shops, nightclubs, a 20- screen cineplex and even 36 holes of miniature golf amusingly themed to horror/sci-fi films of the 1950s. Plus, Universal Orlando offers a number of conveniently located on-site hotels offering a range of accommodations and amenities just steps away from the action of Universal Orlando’s three theme parks. As a member of the military you’ve earned a family vacation beyond anything you’ve experienced before. Act now and you can get a Universal Orlando 4-Day Ticket* for the price of an Anytime Season 1-Day Park-to-Park Ticket from your participating ITT/LTS Office. HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s18) *This offer is not available for purchase at Universal Orlando theme park front gate ticket windows. Offer based on the purchase price of an Anytime Season 1-Day Park-to-Park ticket at Universal Orlando Front Gates. Ticket is only available for purchase at participating U.S. military base ITT/LTS ticket offices or the Shades of Green Resort in Orlando. Ticket must be purchased by December 28, 2018 and must be used on or before December 31, 2018. Any unused days shall be forfeited. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or discount. Limit six (6) tickets per purchase. The 2-Park

4-Day Military Promotional Ticket is valid during regular theme park operating hours and entitles one (1) guest admission to Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ on the same day for any four (4) calendar days through December 31, 2018. The 3-Park 4-Day Military Promotional Ticket is valid during regular theme park operating hours and entitles one (1) guest admission to Universal Studios Florida™, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ AND Universal’s Volcano Bay™ theme parks on the same day for any four (4) calendar days through December 31, 2018. Both the 2-Park and 3-Park Tickets include four (4) days of admission to the paid entertainment venues of Universal CityWalk™ through December 31, 2018. Some CityWalk venues require 21 or older for admission. Ticket is not valid until activated at Universal Orlando theme park front gate

ticket windows. Ticket specifically excludes admission to separately ticketed events at either of the theme parks and CityWalk, AMC® Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX®, Blue Man Group, and Hollywood Drive-In Golf, discounts on food or merchandise, and parking. Ticket is non-transferable, non-refundable, must be used by the same person on all days, and may not be copied or resold. Additional restrictions may apply. Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations is registered with the State of Florida as a seller of travel. Registration number ST-24215. © 2018 MARVEL. Jurassic Park TM Universal Studios/ Amblin. Cabana Bay Beach Resort TM & © 2018 UCF Hotel Venture II. All rights reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2018 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

54 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018


Visit Panama City Beach: Year-Round Sunshine Panama City Beach may be known for its 27-mile stretch of sugar white sand, turquoise green waters, and year-round sunshine, but what may be surprising to the average visitor is the wide variety of activities and amenities the destination has to offer.Whether you are looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, a romantic weekend away, a funpacked family vacation, or looking to take a break in nature, the “Real.FUN. Beach” has you covered.Visitors from all over the world choose to come the area for our beaches, but there is much to be discovered beyond the shoreline. If you are looking for a little action on your next trip, we have a list of exciting and unique activities for you to explore. If you have been called a thrillseeker, a dare devil, or have a thirst for adventure, your vacation may not be spent lounging by the pool, or napping under an umbrella. Chart your own course by jumping on a jet ski or renting a pontoon boat to travel the gulf waters. Shell Island, located in between the Gulf of Mexico and St.Andrews Bay, is a seven-mile long, undeveloped barrier Island enjoyed by visitors and locals

alike. Filled with protected sand dunes, coastal scrub forest, and an inland lake, Shell Island makes for the perfect place to cruise the open waters, and explore its undiscovered treasures.You might even make a few friends along your trip, as dolphins, deer and sea turtles are known to visit the island. Rated one of the top destinations for snorkelers in the world by TripAdvisor, Panama City Beach is a hot spot for underwater discovery. For beginners, snorkeling at the jetties of St.Andrews State Park is the perfect place to get your feet wet. Sheltered by a thick row of rocks, the seven to 15-foot deep pool allows for calmer waters to see a variety of fish and sea life. If you are lucky, you may even see a raccoon or two trying to steal the bait from the fisherman along the jetties! For the more experienced diver, there are a wide array of dive shops throughout the area, providing every piece of gear and gadget to rent or purchase for the perfect dive. Open water scuba certifications are available, as well as mixed gases diving or cave diving courses for the advanced diver in your crew.

On the other side of Panama City Beach lies a whole new terrane.The area known as “West Bay” serves a different type of boat exploration — one that may be a little faster than your typical sunset cruise.Airboat tours to see the lesser known parts of the beach can be found right at the foot of the Buchanan Bridge. The 635-horsepower engine will propel you through the Florida salt marshes to visit the alligators nestled deep in the swampy waters. It is not uncommon for riders to see alligators sunbathing on the grass, or dolphins swimming through the channel. Whether you are traveling with little ones or a kid at heart, visiting a water park is always a good idea. A 65 foot slide, a 500,000 gallon wave pool and acres of pools and attractions are sure to satisfy your craving for adrenaline. Shipwreck Water Park, located on Middle Beach, has three MILLION gallons of water soaking visitors each day and providing attractions the whole family will enjoy. Rated as one of the Best Water Parks in America,

Shipwreck will keep you cool for a full of fun and sun — so “water” you waiting for? While the water provides plenty of action for our visitors, but there is fun to be had on dry land, too! Full throttle options such as rollercoasters, go cart racing and the world famous Slingshot are all available to you on your next trip to Panama City Beach.Take drive down Front Beach Road during any time of day and you will see visitors from all over enjoying these wild attractions. Panama City Beach wants you and your family to make your vacation yours during your next visit.When planning for next trip, visit our website under the “Make It Yours” tab, and take the quiz to see which vacation fits you best.And as expected, a list will be provided to you of all restaurants, attractions and activities to participate in when you arrive! Panama City Beach has plenty to explore, as you will find each area of the beach has its own unique flavor and character.Adventure awaits in the Real.FUN.Beach, we look forward to seeing you soon.


56 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Find Your Adventure at Fort Dodge

Visit the Fort Dodge region and pursue an adventure to suit your interests. Whether your adventure includes outdoor

recreation, the arts, sporting events, or the relaxation of unique restaurants and shopping, Fort Dodge offers travelers a

variety of enjoyable options only minutes from Highway 20. Visitors can hit 70 miles of trails at Iowa’s largest offhighway vehicle park, Gypsum City OHV Park, throw out a fishing line or enjoy 45 miles of equestrian and mountain biking trails at Brushy Creek State Recreational Area or float 70 miles on the scenic Lizard Creek or Des Moines Water Trails. Golfers can take a swing at five courses located throughout the county. In the snowy months, the region offers 150 miles of snowmobile trails maintained by the Webster County Ice Breakers Snowmobile Club. Families can enjoy 25 miles of connected multi-use paved trails, Rosedale Rapids Family Aquatic


Center and Fort Frenzy where water features, go-carts, laser tag, bumper boats and a large indoor arcade promise hours of excitement. The Fort Dodge region also has a proud culture which can be seen in the numerous museums and performing arts opportunities. Stroll through the history of the frontier, agriculture, and Webster County at the Fort Museum or explore the many Fort Dodge historic treasures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Iowa’s first municipal art museum, the Blanden Art Museum, is located in the Historic Oak Hills Neighborhood. Nature and art combine at Fort Dodge Veterans Memorial Park to honor past and current military personnel. All of this while the performing arts flourish in community theatre productions, concerts, and symphony performances. Join us to eat, drink or shop at our locally-owned restaurants, wineries, and shops. Great

Special Military Resources

food, shopping, and play meet at the Community Orchard and Back 40 Playground; a family owned an apple orchard, retail shop, bakery, café, and playground. Historic Downtown Fort Dodge comes alive with a variety of unique shops, boutiques, brewery, cafés, and studios. Celebrate with our community at the numerous festivals, concerts, and sporting events. Whether strolling through vintage cars at Cruise to the Woods, enjoying outdoor concerts, catching a race or watching the Dayton National Championship Rodeo, the region’s events are memorable. For a complete listing of Fort Dodge attractions and events or request a free Webster County Visitors Guide go to www.fortdodgecvb. com.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 57


58 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Sip, Savor, Shop and Enjoy your Stay

Kent County, Maryland, stands gracefully along the shoreline of the Upper Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. A community steeped in history, nature, maritime, agriculture, and art, the County of Kent offers an array of experiences designed to delight the senses. From the chance to rediscover the depth of nature’s beauty, to the opportunity to engage with an art rich community, this is a destination that will infuse you with excitement for all the adventures that spring and summer promise. Kent County has a rich agricultural history, as well strong traditions around working the water. As a result, farm-fresh food and straight-from-the-water seafood are the standard for a dining experience. In fact, locally sourced ingredients are found on

many menus, from the wine and cheese shop in Chestertown to cafes to fine dining restaurants throughout the County. Fountain Park on Saturday mornings bustles with Kent County farmers selling their

fruits, veggies, wines, flowers, baked goods, and more–while artisans offer items from handmade furniture to soaps and jewelry — all at the awardwinning Chestertown Farmers and Artisans market. Harvesting

locally also creates amazing wines and spirits. Nestled just outside of the town of Kennedyville is Crow Winery. In addition to wine tastings, this award-winning winery is also a vineyard, working farm, Farm Stay B&B, and is becoming well known for their many events. Another must stop is Cassinelli Distillery and Wine Bar, and Bad Alfred’s located in Downtown Chestertown, where visitors watch as vodka, gin and brandy are made, and then the tastings begin — directly from the stills. The foodie in you will also want to consider visiting during Rock Hall Restaurant week, which kicks

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 59

from Rock Hall, Eastern Neck Island, a protected habitat, is home to a wealth of wildlife and plants. This refuge offers diverse experiences including kayaking, bird watching, hiking, and biking. Walk along trails that lead to the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chester River. Be sure to book your stay in a historic inn, lovely B&B, hotel, vacation rental or campground; whatever your choice, you will find the perfect accommodation.

off with The Taste of Rock Hall in April, where you will find plenty of local food and fresh seafood dishes. Seafood so fresh that you may even spot a Waterman unloading his day’s catch from the stern of his vessel.That catch might be rock fish, clams, oysters and the famous Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab. Enjoy your ‘Sipping’ and ‘Savoring’ in Kent County. Just be sure to leave enough time for shopping, for you will not want to miss a single store. From the whimsical shops and antique stores of Rock Hall and Galena to boutique shops and art galleries in Chestertown, you will find the perfect gift or something special for yourself. Whether you are looking for name brands, aloha shirts and

dresses, nautical one of a kinds, fine arts and crafts or anything in between, you’ll enjoy old fashion, friendly service. No stuffy malls here. Designated an Arts and Entertainment District by the State of Maryland, Chestertown is home to an inspiring collection of galleries, studios, and creative events. If spring has you dreaming of the sweet sound of music, Kent County can nourish your soul. This community is home to a variety of venues, like The Mainstay in Rock Hall, The Garfield Center for the Arts, and Washington College, both located in Chestertown. This is also a great time to visit Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Just seven miles

Visit to choose from more than three dozen lodging options. Kent County is eager to offer you a full experience. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the depth of this special place, located along one of the most scenic shorelines in the mid-Atlantic. We are certain you will find that this destination is now one of your favorite getaways. For more information please visit www.

60 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Sunshine Sand




Vacations have a way of reminding us of the important things in life. And a beach vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast does just that. From the moment one steps onto the soft, sugar-white sand, a transformation is set in motion. Life seems to slow to the rhythm of the waves and worries melt away. The Alabama Gulf Coast boasts 32 miles of pristine white sand beaches, a laid-back attitude and family-friendly atmosphere. Coupled with a heaping helping of genuine Southern hospitality, Gulf Shores

and Orange Beach are the perfect destinations for refocusing and reconnecting with the ones you love. And although the beaches are reason enough to make the trip, visitors will also find a wide variety of activities and attractions the entire family will enjoy.

Beyond the Beach From zip lines and waterparks to golf courses and fishing charters, there are entertainment choices for all interests and ages. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy miles of walking and biking trails, dolphin cruises, diving and snorkeling trips, and birding opportunities. History buffs can step back in time and explore the area’s rich history at Historic Fort Morgan and the local museums. And for shoppers seeking the perfect souvenir, the island’s many boutiques, souvenir and specialty shops are perfect for treasure hunting. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to several acclaimed festivals and events, and each provides a great opportunity to experience the music, food, art and culture of the area. The renowned Hangout Music Festival takes place on the public beach in Gulf Shores May 18-20 and features three days of music from a variety of genres.

Rest and Relax No trip to the area would be complete without enjoying local seafood, fresh from the Gulf. Area chefs have garnered national attention for their use of local cheeses and produce in creating their culinary delights. Restaurant varieties range from relaxed to upscale with choices for every dining style, including waterfront locations, open-air restaurants featuring live entertainment and family-friendly options with


Special Military Resources

Discover the Destination

children’s play areas. Many of them are destinations of their own. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a wide selection of lodging options from beachfront condos and national hotel chains to private beach houses and full-service resorts, with accommodations to fit any travel style. Amenities vary by property, and many include indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, lazy rivers, on-site dining, fitness rooms, full-service spas, children’s activities and more. But perhaps the most popular feature is the view from a private balcony or deck. Whether overlooking the

Gulf of Mexico or watching the boats pass by on the back bays, the landscape of the Alabama Gulf Coast takes you to a whole new state of relaxation. Your vacation experience begins long before your arrival in the destination. When you book lodging, attractions and activities directly with local businesses, you’re working with local residents who know the area and are dedicated to providing you with a great vacation experience, from planning through departure. Some say it’s the genuine Southern hospitality that makes the difference. And for many, it’s why they return year after year.

Visit to learn more about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.While there, be sure to request a copy of the 2018 vacation guide, a 100-page magazine

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 61

featuring a photographic tour of the area with complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do, and great places to eat. 877-341-2400


62 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018

Enjoy Waterfalls, Summer Concerts and More With a Visit to Hendersonville, N.C. Hendersonville’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina makes it a natural oasis for rest and relaxation. The town’s reputation as a summer escape dates back decades to the days when Charleston, South Carolina residents traveled to Hendersonville seeking respite from the hot, humid low country summer. In addition to its temperate climate, today Hendersonville

offers abundant outdoor adventure, downtown events and a robust craft beverage and dining scene. For those looking to escape for an afternoon or an entire day, DuPont State Recreational Forest contains more than 10,000 acres. What was once the property of the DuPont Corporation is now a natural playground. Approximately 90 miles of trails and dirt roads encourage hiking, biking and

horseback riding. Numerous waterfalls along Little River and Grassy Creek provide enjoyment for all ages. Just north of DuPont, Holmes Educational State Forest operates as a living classroom, sharing forestry information with guests. The “talking trees” trail informs hikers about different tree species and their uses. The forest contains five miles of trails, a forestry center with exhibits and picnic facilities, all free of charge. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg once lived in the small village of Flat Rock, south of Hendersonville, and his Connemara estate is now part of the National Park Service. Visitors may gain inspiration from touring Sandburg’s home and seeing his book collection and writing room. Five miles of trails meander through the 264acre property and up to the top of Glassy Mountain. No visit to the Sandburg Home is complete without seeing the functioning dairy goat barn. Jump Off Rock, only five miles from downtown Hendersonville, climbs to 3,100 feet in elevation. From the rock overlook, visitors peer into four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. A series of short trails offer an easy to moderate hike, and the park area is ideal for picnics. Visitors who come at sunset see one of the prettiest sights in the region as the sun sinks behind the mountains. The French Broad River flows along Hendersonville’s western edge. The ancient river is known for its calm, northward-moving waters. Lazy Otter Outfitters puts people on the water for full- or half-day paddles. Vessel choices

include canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and tubes. For the truly adventurous, The Gorge Zipline is the steepest and fastest zipline experience in the country. The course descends more than 1,100 feet into the Green River Gorge via 11 ziplines, three rappels and a sky bridge. As the sun sets in the evenings, downtown Hendersonville comes alive with music. The annual Summer Music Series brings a variety of bands to Main Street for free concerts. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Hendersonville’s street dances. What started as a welcome home celebration for soldiers returning from World War I has become a favorite tradition for visitors and locals. Each Monday night from mid-July through mid-August, musicians play traditional Appalachian Mountain bluegrass, and cloggers and square dancers fall into rhythm. On Friday nights through the summer, beach music and rock ’n’ roll bands take the downtown stage for Music on Main. Attendees kick back in lawn chairs or kick up their heels. Classic car shows take place in conjunction with the concerts. On the third Thursday of the month from May through September, Rhythm & Brews pairs craft beverages with live music. Attendees sample cider, beer and wine from local producers. In addition to live music and events, Hendersonville’s Main Street is a daily destination. The wide sidewalks, lined with trees and flowering planters, are especially welcoming in the summer. Shops throw open their

Hendersonville, N.C. continued on Page 70


Special Military Resources

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 63

Cedar Hill, Texas: A Breath of Fresh Air

Are you looking for adventure this summer? Look no further than Cedar Hill,Texas. The city, a short 20 minute drive from downtown Dallas, is nestled among rolling hills at the highest elevation between the Red River and the Gulf Mexico. Our relaxed, inviting ambiance cultivated in family-friendly values, brings easy access to a variety of outdoor fun but also to other attractions throughout North Texas. Part of a larger 12,000-acre greenbelt, the city is a topographical paradise of beautiful hillsides and lush natural landscapes.We are home to over 45 miles of combined hike and bike trails, 42 parks on approximately 3,200-acres, including Cedar Hill State Park on Joe Pool Lake and nearby

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center, great for family, business or leisure gatherings. Sporting attractions and recreation can be found at every turn.Try Cedar Hill’s 36-hole, championship disc golf course, for leisure or competitive athletic events enjoyed year round. There are also fields, courts, and courses for public use all throughout the city. Valley Ridge Park, located in the Lake Ridge community, spans over 165 acres for sport of all shapes and sizes, even featuring a stocked fishing pond with floating pier and fountains. The park also hosts a 3,000 square foot amphitheater with natural bowl seating for outdoor experiences. Shopping and dining options range

from national retailers and chain restaurants to local boutiques and cafes.The area is home to a variety of museums, charming historic districts, and family-friendly entertainment venues. Be sure to take Cedar Hill’s Historic Downtown walking tour, featuring a stop at the First State Bank of Cedar Hill that was robbed in the 1930’s by Raymond Hamilton, a sidekick of notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. Events and festivals, particularly the outdoor variety, are among the best attractions of Cedar Hill. Arts festivals, concert series, and long-standing community celebrations draw visitors in every season.We are even home to the largest fossil creature ever found in Dallas County, a 50-foot

long swimming sea lizard named Elasmosaurus morgana discovered in the 1930’s by Cedar Hill resident T.J.Tidwell, now archived with SMU Shuler Museum and featured at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Discover the fun in Cedar Hill, Texas, and plan your visit today: www.VisitCedarHillTX.

64 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018


Experience History at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Inside the Cold War Experience in the Combat Information Center of the USS Laffey.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum may be a museum based on ships that are around 75 years old, but the stories these historic vessels have to tell is presented with cuttingedge technology of the 21st century. For the past five years, museum staff has worked to create exhibits that bring history to life and create a true experience for visitors.The newest exhibit, the first phase of the USS Yorktown Engine Room Experience, opened earlier this year. Since joining Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum as the Executive Director in 2010, Mac Burdette has encouraged staff to supplement traditional museum signage with the effective use of technology.“We can put up plaques throughout our museum to share the stories of history and the roles of our ships in our country’s past, but it isn’t going to hit home with our visitors like an exhibit that invites them to experience history in a whole new

Visitors step inside the Mount 53 Experience on the USS Laffey.

way,” said Burdette. Major museum exhibits, Burdette explained, are now called “experiences.” The first such exhibit was the “Mount 53 Experience” onboard

the USS Laffey DD-724 — a naval destroyer whose 30-year service began in 1944 during the height of World War II and continued through much of the Cold War.As guests maneuver their way inside the aft gun mount on the Laffey, they start to look around and take in the small enclosed space around them.When they are ready to begin, guests start a video that narrates the jobs of the 12 men who worked inside the gun mount during World War II. After a brief overview of the gun mount and the individual jobs tasked to the men inside it, the video takes visitors through a perilous Japanese attack in April 1945 when 22 Japanese aircraft relentlessly attacked the Laffey for more than an hour. Throughout the telling of the story, the mount shakes and vibrates with each gun firing and each bomb or plane that “hits” the ship. In only five

minutes, guests get a small glimpse of what it was like for the brave sailors inside that mount during World War II, and when they exit after learning not all of the crew survived, many visitors are visibly emotional. “We could tell guests with a plaque that the Laffey is known as ‘the ship that would not die’ and that she lost 32 of her crew in a fierce attack off the coast of Okinawa during World War II, but this experience brings that point home in a way that simple words cannot,” said Burdette. Over the years, additional exhibits have been added including the Apollo 8 Experience onboard the USS Yorktown CV-10 (the carrier retrieved the capsule from the Pacific Ocean after completing a mission to orbit the moon in 1968), and the Engine Room Experience and Cold War Experience aboard the USS Laffey.

Inside the USS Laffey Mount 53 Experience.

Additionally, in 2014 Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum expanded and improved the Vietnam support base landside of the museum to a “Vietnam Experience” with surround sound throughout the 2.5-acre exhibit.The Vietnam Experience uses sight, sound and touch to show guests what it was like to live and work in a U.S. Navy Advanced Tactical Support Base (Brown Water Navy) and a U.S. Marine Corps Artillery Firebase during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The newest addition at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum opened in late February when the museum unveiled the first phase of the new USS Yorktown Engine Room Experience.The newly-renovated

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 65

Special Military Resources


space uses the latest technology to bring the story of the engine room to life and makes it easier for guests to understand the duties and purpose of this integral part of an aircraft carrier. The USS Yorktown Engine Room Experience features 15 unique halolit images; a virtual tour station of the lower decks of the engine room; a touchscreen kiosk using animation to explain how the engine of the USS Yorktown functions; and a “holobox” scene showing a sailor (hologram) lighting a boiler and another of him finding a steam leak.The entire area is accessible to those with mobility challenges and is climate controlled. The USS Yorktown Engine Room Experience is located along Tour 2 onboard the USS Yorktown, just

before guests have the option to descend a series of ladders to reach the engine room. For those who are unable to navigate the ladders, the new Engine Room Experience creates a virtual alternative that allows them to tour the engine room remotely. These technological additions create a dynamic and interactive experience for museum guests and represent the first phase of a major exhibit planned for the USS Yorktown engine room.The next phase will focus on the engine and fire room spaces below deck and will bring the areas to life and allow the experience to tell the story of the sailors who once worked there. The next phase of the Engine Room

Experience, like this first phase, will have interactive and immersive components. As summer begins, it’s a great time to visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and experience these interactive and immersive exhibits.Admission is free for activeduty military in uniform (and discounted if not in uniform). Come take a trip around the moon in a replica Apollo 8 space capsule, sit in a combat information center as the crew of a destroyer works quickly to determine if World War III is about to begin, and listen to the sights and sounds of the engine room of a Navy vessel at sea.There is so much great history to experience at Patriots Point.

USS Yorktown Engine Room Experience.

66 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018


Adventures with Cody Mountain Biking the ‘Op’ Fall in the Heart of Appalachia is the perfect time for outdoor exploration and adventure. The picturesque change of seasons colors is spectacular and the weather is at its best for hiking, biking, off-roading, bouldering and whitewater rafting. Far southwestern Virginia is an outdoor adventure land year-round, but autumn invigorates the senses like no other time of year. All five of Spearhead Trails ATV/OHV trail systems are now mountain biking and hiking accessible, opening up a whole new world of opportunities for unmotorized adrenaline boosting excitement.

Heart of Appalachia’s own, Cody Howell, and his friends, Cody and Crystal, recently took a few hours off to explore Spearhead’s Original Pocahontas (OP) trails on their mountain bikes.We thought we’d share a bit of their ride. Starting above Pocahontas,VA on Peeled Chestnut Mountain, Cody and friends rode the OP Trails, starting at trail “37” and ending at “1” in Pocahontas.Their ride totaled 6.5 miles taking 2 hours and 10 minutes. From their starting point, the ride was “70 percent downhill, met with short uphills to break up the monotony.”With a huge grin, Cody went on to say,“[The trail] …offers smooth riding with up to 25 mph, mixed with challenging sections to keep you truly engaged. Leaves everywhere – colors, colors, colors!” They discovered two fabulous overlooks on their journey and even made a new friend along the way. Cody explained that at one of the overlooks, they were “accompanied

by a white horse named Cooper” that enjoyed a couple of apples they treated him with. Evidently, Cooper enjoys the views and the visitors! Cody recalled meeting him earlier in the month while he was ATVing the same trail. Cooper’s not shy! To put Cody’s ride into perspective,The OP has 67 miles of trails that range from “green” to “blue” and “black” (rated originally for motorized ATV’s; green being easy, blue being intermediate, and black for experts), with an expansion of 30 more in the near future. So, you can ride for days without backtracking! At the end of the day you can kick back and relax in a cabin or campground if your exploration calls you to stay more than a day! We hope you enjoyed this brief look into mountain biking Spearhead’s Original Pocahontas Trail.We didn’t want to give away too much… you need to experience it for yourself. We will be sharing more of Cody’s adventures from time to time so give

@VisitHeartOfAppalachia a like on Facebook to stay up to date. We invite you to experience all that the Heart of Appalachia outdoors has to offer. For more hiking and mountain biking opportunities region-wide, visit our website, give us a call at (276) 762-0011, or stop in at our Visitors Center in St. Paul, VA.We’ll get you headed in the right direction for a day, weekend, a week or more, full of outdoor exploration and heart-pumping adventure! Save in your favorites and visit often for new events, activities, and recreational opportunities. For details and maps of Spearhead Trails trail systems, visit Don’t wait, it’s Fall Y’all! Cody is a local resident of Tazewell County, US Navy Veteran, member of the Heart of Appalachia Board of Directors representing Tazewell County, Chairman of the Tazewell County Tourism Committee, and member of the trail maintenance team of the Spearhead Trails organization.

Special Military Resources


SUMMER FUN TO FIT EVERYONE Take charge of your summer fun with a vacation that’s perfect for you in Sevierville,Tennessee. Sevierville,Tenn. – From outdoor adventures to theme parks and amusements – even shopping trips – sometimes it’s hard to choose how you want to spend your summer vacation. It can be even harder to find a destination that pleases everyone traveling with you. But never fear, Sevierville,Tennessee is here with perfect summer break ideas to help you get the most fun out of the season. Outdoor Adventure Have an active summer vacation this year and pack your itinerary with memory building outdoor adventures. Take the family on one of a dozen zipline excursions. Daredevils love The Goliath, a 400-foot-high zipline at Foxfire Mountain Adventures. Or choose closer-to-the-Parkway options like Adventure Park at Five Oaks and Adventure Works Climb. Zip. Swing., both of which offer zip line and ropes challenge course options. In Sevierville you can also go ATVing, play low impact paintball, tour Forbidden Caverns and hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park – a free national park that is also America’s most visited.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 67 and brush up on your ninja warrior skills at Sevier Air Trampoline and Ninja Warrior Park. Make it a Reunion With a little planning and coordination, it’s easy to turn your summer vacation into a family reunion. Plan to meet up with grandparents and extended family for some incredible time together in Sevierville. Book a luxurious log cabin big enough for everyone and take advantage of cozy fireplaces, hot tubs and game rooms.Then plan activities all ages will enjoy – from historic museums and discovery zoos to go kart tracks and shopping. Sevierville is only a few hours away from major metro areas including Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Cincinnati and offers convenient interstate access from I-40, I-81, I-75 and I-26. Get the Girls Together Summer is also a great time for a girls’ retreat. Meet up with friends, aunts, sisters, and cousins to enjoy high end outlet shopping at Tanger Outlets Sevierville, try a relaxing ice cream pedicure at The Spa at Oak Haven, and enjoy the Sevierville wineries located along the Rocky Top Wine Trail. For more information about everything there is to see and do in Sevierville this summer, go online to

Family Fun Spring Break is family time and one family favorite is Sevierville’s Wilderness at the Smokies Water Park Resort.There you can weatherproof your vacation in their massive indoor and outdoor waterparks filled with big waterslides, a wave pool, surf simulator and plenty of play areas for even the littlest kids.This summer you can also enjoy family friendly attractions like Tennessee Smokies Baseball, where the home team just happen to be the AA affiliates of the Chicago Cubs. Explore Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo, zip around NASCAR SpeedPark’s eight go kart tracks,

68 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018



Trolley Tours, Street Parties, Music Festivals and More

Chattanooga is the Gateway to Tennessee and is nestled along the banks of the beautiful Tennessee River and surrounded by the spectacular scenic beauty of the mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. You will enjoy a newly revitalized green riverfront city, first class attractions, great Southern hospitality, rich Native American and Civil War history, outdoor adventures and locally owned restaurants & cafes, a thriving arts & music scene with plenty of annual festivals and events that offer year-round fun. We are located right off of Interstates I-24; I-59 and I-75.You can park your car and check out the free Electric Shuttle or enjoy a great sightseeing tour with Gray Line’s Hop on Hop off Trolley Tour. Your ticket is good for 2 days and children ride free with a paying adult. Purchase online at https:// or at their ticket office at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Lobby.

If the great outdoors is more your style – then don’t miss our great outdoor adventures like kayaking, paddle-boarding or canoeing right in downtown. You are only a 15 minute drive to hiking trails, mountain biking or rock climbing indoors and


out at places like the High Point Climbing Center – where a short lesson can have you scaling the Pit or going 3 stories up – check them out at www.highpointclimbing. com Didn’t bring your bike? – No problem! Use our Bike Share Program where $8.00 gets you 24-access to over 30 stations and 300 bikes.Then, just 45 minutes away, you can whitewater raft on the Ocoee “1996 Olympic” River or, if you dare, jump off Lookout Mountain’s west side in a hangglider made for two. Speaking of Historic Lookout Mountain, located only 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga you’ll find a whole new list of things to do from riding the steepest Incline Railway in the world, to going underground to see a 145’ waterfall at Ruby Falls to walking through award-winning gardens at Rock City Gardens. Experience the Battles for Chattanooga Museum presentation on the battles of 1863 and stroll the National Park Battlefield unit at Point Park. Don’t miss the 13’ x 30’ painting done by an eyewitness to the 1863 Chattanooga battles located in the NPS Visitors Center across the street from Point Park. If time allows, head down to the Chickamauga Battlefield at Fort Oglethorpe to see the new movie presentation “Death Knell of the Confederacy” at the NPS visitor’s center and then head out to drive the oldest and largest National Military Park in the USA. Many military leadership classes have made the pilgrimage to the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park established in 1889 to study the generals that fought there during the Civil War. If you love MUSIC then check out our 9-Day Riverbend Music Festival for less than $65 for all 9 nights each year in June. With over 100 acts on 5 stages you will love this award-winning festival. You will find this year’s scheduled acts at www.RiverbendFestival. com . Want something more intimate?

Special Military Resources

– Then Main Street and the new entertainment district at Station Street will be perfect for you. Enjoy line dancing at Westward Country Lounge or dance to ‘80s & ‘90s tunes at Regan’s Place or stroll over to Brewhouse Terminal for a craft beer or burger. Be one of the first in the nation to check out Songbirds Guitar Museum at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Complex. This is one of the largest and most rare collections in the world.Then walk across the street and take a tour & tasting at Chattanooga Whiskey Company’s distillery. And Chattanooga has a variety of musicians that call it home from the 1920’s great Bessie Smith, the Empress of Blues, to Clyde Stubblefield, lead drummer for James Brown to today’s top R & B legend, Usher. Check out our CHA Tunes on Spotify.

And here are a few other great things not to miss: our Riverfront District includes the Tennessee Aquarium, the world’s largest fresh-water aquarium; or while away an evening at a Chattanooga

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018 • 69 Lookouts Baseball game on Hawk Hill downtown. Then enjoy a prime-rib dinner & music on the Southern Belle Riverboat or splash down in the morning in a Chattanooga Duck, a WWII amphibious military vehicle for a fun river ride to remember. We guarantee to provide you and your family with a vacation that you will talk about for years to come. Whatever thrills you – we think you will find it in Chattanooga Tennessee. Come see this place we call home! CHATTANOOGA – Best Town Ever! For more information check out our website at www. or email Shelda Spencer Rees at ssrees@ If you are interested in bringing your military reunion to Chattanooga – we’ve got you covered! Email Reunion Specialist – Ms. Chris Petro at ChrisP@

70 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2018



Fort Dodge, Iowa


Marshalltown, IA


St. John’s College


Arlington, VA


Fort Madison IA


Mississippi College


State Farm


Austin TX Fire Dept


Fort Myers & Sanibel, The Beaches of

Missouri Western State Univ.





Mount Pleasant, SC


Tennessee Valley Railroad


Front Royal, Va


NBC Universal


Tri State Expedited Service


NC A&T State University


Troy University


New Mexico Military Institute


Tupelo, MS


Northern Neck, VA


U.S. Secret Service


University Behavioral Health of Denton


University of Alabama, The


University of Miami Online


Visit Cedar Hill, TX


Wright State University


Wytheville, VA




Ball State University


Beckfield College


Bradford County, PA


Canadian Pacific Rail


Capt. Anderson’s Marina


George Washington Univ.


Glasgow-Barren County Tourist & 58 Convention Commission Griffon Association Golf Tournament


Norwich University


Catholic University of America, The 23

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach


NRA Museum


Chattanooga, TN


Harlan County, KY


Ocean Corporation, The


Cincinnati Police Dept


Haywood County Hotel & Motel Association




Heart of Appalachia

Panama City Beach



Hendersonville, NC

Patriots Point




Pender County, NC



Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Pfeiffer University



Jody Stayed Home

Quality Drive-Away /Foremost Transport



Kent County, MD

Richland College



Lawrence County, PA


San Diego County Sheriff’s Department




Sevierville, TN


Lookout Mountain/Ruby Falls


Smith Transport


Marion Military Institute


Southwest Virginia CC


College America/Independence 17 University Colorado Christian University


Colorado Denver, University of


CSI Computer Sciences CVS Health Danny Herman Trucking

34 50 45

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges 11 Eastern University




Fayetteville State University


Forest Trail Academy


Hendersonville, NC Cont’d from page 62

doors, welcoming patrons inside. Restaurants make the most of the sunshine, seating customers at sidewalk dining tables. Never Blue, which serves an internationally inspired tapas menu, opens its garage-door front onto the street. Savory smells drift down the sidewalk and beckon hungry patrons. Diners enjoy creative cocktails, tacos and made-in-house desserts. At Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock, all of the dining takes place outdoors. At this seasonal restaurant customers order at the window and choose one of the patio tables. Smoked pork, chicken and brisket are the staples, along with fresh sides, such as summer succotash and potato salad. Some of the most popular places during the summer are Hendersonville’s numerous cideries, breweries and wineries. Visitors enjoy following the Cheers! Trail, which maps out a customizable itinerary of a dozen destinations. Bold Rock Hard Cider — the largest craft cidery in the country — operates a state-of-the-art production

facility and tasting room in nearby Mills River. Guests order flights at the bar, choose a favorite and retreat to the cider garden with a pint. Bold Bites, the on-site food truck, serves barbecue plates and sandwiches. Mills River is also home to the East

Coast headquarters of Sierra Nevada. Craft beer aficionados flock to the palatial brewery and taproom.The brewery offers tours, tastings and a full restaurant, as well as special events and live music.The beer garden out back is a popular spot

to gather with friends and family around the fire pit on cool mountain evenings. To learn more about these activities and additional Hendersonville attractions: or 800828-4244.

SHARP Department Many Commands are still not aware that SHARP Services were extended to Department of the Army Civilians (DACs) through a one-year trial period to allow them to avail themselves of both the restricted and unrestricted reporting options for incidents of sexual assault. DACs are currently authorized services through 24 January 2018, in accordance with the Department of the Army (HQDA), G-1 memorandum, Subject: Procedures for Implementing Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Services for Department of the Army Civilians, dated 24 January 2017. Department of Defense (DoD) has granted the Army an extension of this exception to policy (ETP) through 8 March 2018. Additionally, HQDA is staffing a Secretary of Army memorandum to DoD requesting a permanent ETP to allow SHARP services to DACs beyond 8 March 2018. Informal conversations with DoD indicate their willingness to concur with the request. In anticipation of a gap in the authorization to provide SHARP services to DACs, DACs seeking guidance from SHARP professionals, i.e. Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and/or Victim Advocates (VAs), will be referred to community based crisis services and support organizations and/or to EEO, if applicable. Providing such assistance to DACs will not generate a signed DD 2910 or be entered into the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID) until such time as an extension is signed / granted. Please refer to the actual 24 January 2017 HQDA G-1 memorandum for outlined SARC and VA procedures and responsibilities.

Paula James, 108th SHARP Program Manager/SARC

Use what’s inside to stand out. Find your next job right here. Be part of a team that leads by helping create solutions for all of life’s moments. Bring your talents and passion to launch your career to the next level. Join our community of good neighbors.

State Farm, Bloomington, IL

1708072 StateFarm_OpGriffon108_10x14.indd 1

10/17/17 3:49 PM

Griffon Spring 2018  

The Griffon - First in Training

Griffon Spring 2018  

The Griffon - First in Training