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Helmly hears concerns of Reserve troops in Kuwait

By Spc. Curt Cashour

CAMP DOHA, Kuwait (Army News Service, Jan. 18, 2005) - Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. James Helmly visited Camp Doha, Kuwait, Jan. 17 to hold a town-hall style meeting with troops from several Reserve units deployed to the region.

The meeting, which lasted a little over an hour, was the first of several town-hall gatherings Helmly is scheduled to conduct to address Army Reserve-related concerns during his nine-day tour of U.S. camps in the Central Command theater.

Helmly spoke for about 30 minutes before a crowd of more than 300 Reserve Soldiers, before taking questions from the troops.

"I work for you," Helmly said as he began to address the Soldiers packed in the camp's deployment/redeployment briefing room. He then thanked Soldiers for their service, urged them to apply the "Warrior Ethos" to their everyday activities and acknowledged some of the challenges facing the Army Reserve.

In his plain-spoken, straight-forward style, Helmly acknowledged that Reserve Soldiers have endured multiple problems to include payment glitches as well as equipment and manpower issues, and assured the troops that he and other Army officials are working as hard as they can to remedy these issues.

Helmly also addressed the Dec. 20 memo he wrote to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, which made headlines two weeks ago with frank discussion of Army Reserve policies and the component's potential problems.

"Whatever you read in that memo, I wrote," Helmly said, adding that he stands behind the content of the document.

Helmly was just as honest with the troops when fielding their questions. On the subject of the type of operational tempo Reserve Soldiers can expect in the future, Helmly said he could make no guarantees.

When asked about possible downsizing of the force by Capt. Mike Walker of the 146th Quartermaster Company from Fort Totten, N.Y., Helmly admitted that some Reserve slots will be eliminated in the future, but Reserve end strength, which hovers around 200,000, will not be affected.

Eliminating slots in certain areas will enable Reserve officials to bring understaffed units to at least 90 percent of their capacity, Helmly said. He emphasized that he's made it clear to commanders that there will always be spaces available in the Reserve for willing Soldiers, as long as they meet Army standards.

(Editor's note: Spc. Curt Cashour serves with the Combined Forces Land Component Command, or CFLCC Public Affairs.) OCPA Public Affairs Home OCPA Public Affairs Home


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