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Jeff Coleman: Community support required to inspire future generations of Army leaders

By JEFF COLEMAN, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama (South)

“Thank you for your service.”  As the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama (South), I am always grateful for these words, which I hear often in this community.

What many people do not understand is that the United States Army is the one who is thankful.

We are thankful for the camaraderie, the global understanding, the commitment made to our Soldiers and their families and for the opportunity to dedicate every day to the people of this great country.

We are thankful for the education and cost-free healthcare we receive, the worldwide experiences we have had, the technical skills we have learned and the opportunity to be leaders in the most trusted organization in the world.

We are thankful to be part of history.  On June 14, the Army celebrates 244 years of dedicated service.  Generations of soldiers have inspired professionalism, honorable service and a commitment to the common good.  For this, we are proud of our Soldiers.

And now, we are part of the team inspiring the next great generation of Soldiers to find their place in history.

That is no easy task, however, even though the majority of Americans have the highest levels of confidence in the U.S. Military.

We face many challenges when searching for the right people to fill our ranks.  Yes, we need infantrymen and Special Forces Soldiers, like you see in the movies, but we also need logisticians, nurses, engineers, truck drivers, and IT specialists.

About 50 percent of today’s young people admit they know little to nothing about their nation’s military – the people who work daily to protect their freedom.  They don’t understand the depth of the knowledge and technical skills they can learn in 150 different career paths. They don’t understand the degrees they can earn or that the benefits and perks often match or surpass those offered by civilian employers.

We see amazing young people desiring to serve their communities, and we believe that we are doing them a disservice if we are not encouraging them to explore the military as a potential career path.

The Army invests in its people, often to the benefit of outside organizations.  Veterans are more likely to vote, volunteer, and be involved in their communities.  They have the maturity and self-discipline private industries are seeking.

Only 29 percent of today’s young people have the ability to meet our qualifications.  We will work to find the right people, and we will compete to retain them for the good of our nation.  But we need your help.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6 and the Army’s 244th birthday on June 14, the Army is activating a nationwide “Call to Service”.

We challenge leaders, parents, educators and the community as a whole to step forward.  Inspire the young people around you to be a part of something bigger, to be part of history.   Inspire them to answer the call to serve their country through the United States Army.

Army Strong!!

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