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Battaglia Reflects on Total Force, Military Appreciation

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 18, 2014 – As he concludes his week-long visit here, gratitude has emerged as the lingering theme, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks to applicants about military commitment and service to their country before administering the ceremonial oath of enlistment at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Jacksonville, Fla., April 16, 2014. DOD photo by Army Master Sgt. Terrence L. Hayes

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia’s schedule included engagements with multiple demographics ranging from adolescents to people in long-term care to learn more about their experiences in and with the military.

“Everywhere we stopped, there was always someone, regardless of whether they served in the past or not, who when they see you in uniform, exhausted all efforts to say, ‘Thank you for your service,’” the sergeant major said.

From Junior ROTC high school students to commissioned and noncommissioned officers, wounded warriors, volunteers, family members and senior retirees at a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic, Battaglia reflected on how each group is an integral part of the total force.

“It’s the intent and scope of each one of my stops that I engage with the base or post, the community and the VA,” Battaglia said, “because those are three legs to the stool that, if missing a leg, can become very unstable.”

After interacting with high school Junior ROTC youth at Naval Air Station Mayport here, Battaglia visited the Jacksonville Military Entrance Processing Station. The sergeant major recounted that he got to engage not only with youth who were about to commit to the military, but also with people about the same age who were about to begin their careers.

“Administering the ceremonial oath and getting to meet with the MEPS staff was very educational,” Battaglia said. “While it was monumental for some of them to have me visit, it was even more monumental for me to be welcomed into their facility.”

This summer, Battaglia said, he will meet with Gold Star families who have lost a loved one to combat. “They’ll never be forgotten, and they’re part of the total force, too,” he said. The meetings, he added, are all part of the public-private partnership that bridges the gap between the military members and citizens and allows him to gauge the relationships among many entities.

“The base has to be open to its community, the community has to be open to its base, and the VA is a conduit as well,” Battaglia said. “I’m happy to report the relationships are strong in Jacksonville, and it’s really a model for the United States to work after.”

He said visits such as this enable him to make comparisons to other cities. “Should I see some best practices, I’m happy to share that with other communities to say that it’s not ‘the’ way, but perhaps ‘a’ way. … And I think our country can benefit from it,” Battaglia said.

The sergeant major said he will return here in early June.

“The city of Jacksonville appears to love its military men and women,” Battaglia said. “I got that by sitting with the mayor … all the way to talking with the employee on kitchen duty at the veterans homeless shelter.”

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleAFPS)


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Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia

Related Sites:
Special Report: Travels With Battaglia

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