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CENTCOM CSM visits Kuwait troops

By Sgt. Angela Lorden U.S. Army Central

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Command Sgt. Maj. William Thetford, left, the senior enlisted leader of U.S. Central Command, presents a coin to Spc. Rena Hildreth, right, a unit supply specialist with the 77th Combat Aviation Brigade on Sep. 15, 2016 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Thetford recognized several Soldiers with coins for their military excellence during his two-day visit to Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angela Lorden)
Command Sgt. Maj. William Thetford, left, the senior enlisted leader of U.S. Central Command, presents a coin to Spc. Rena Hildreth, right, a unit supply specialist with the 77th Combat Aviation Brigade on Sep. 15, 2016 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Thetford recognized several Soldiers with coins for their military excellence during his two-day visit to Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angela Lorden)
Command Sgt. Maj. William Thetford, left, the senior enlisted leader of U.S. Central Command, presents a coin to Spc. Rena Hildreth, right, a unit supply specialist with the 77th Combat Aviation Brigade on Sep. 15, 2016 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Thetford recognized several Soldiers with coins for their military excellence during his two-day visit to Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angela Lorden)
CENTCOM CSM visits Kuwait troops
Command Sgt. Maj. William Thetford, left, the senior enlisted leader of U.S. Central Command, presents a coin to Spc. Rena Hildreth, right, a unit supply specialist with the 77th Combat Aviation Brigade on Sep. 15, 2016 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Thetford recognized several Soldiers with coins for their military excellence during his two-day visit to Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Angela Lorden)
Photo By: Sgt. Angela Lorden
VIRIN: 160915-A-GP059-003
Command Sgt. Maj. William Thetford, the senior enlisted leader of U.S. Central Command, visited U.S. Army Central troops deployed to Kuwait on Sep. 14-15.

“This is my first trip here,” Thetford said. “It helps me build my situational awareness. I couldn’t ask for a better introduction to what’s going on here in Kuwait.”

Thetford interacted face-to-face with various units, leaders and Soldiers who contribute to the ARCENT mission at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait Naval Base and Camp Beuhring. 

“Everybody has a role,” he said. “There’s no one here that’s just excess. No one should think their proximity to the fight in anyway relates to how important their contributions are.” 

During his visit, Thetford engaged in numerous briefings with senior leaders and toured multiple Army facilities. These tours reinforced Thetford’s understanding of USARCENT’s capabilities, he said. 

One of the facilities he toured was a machine shop run by California National Guard Soldiers deployed to Camp Arifjan from the 1106th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group. 

“If CENTCOM understands what we’re doing as an individual unit, it makes it a whole lot easier to plan the entire theater on the warfront,” said Master Sgt. William Smith, the Noncommissioned Officer In Charge of the 1106th TASMG.

Thetford recognized the military excellence of two of Smith’s Soldiers with a coin.

“Our mechanics go theater-wide to repair aircraft,” Smith said. “They are easily the most experienced mechanics we have in the Army."

On the second day of his visit, Thetford traveled to Camp Buehring. One of his engagements included a tour of the Basic Leader Course facilities, as well as a visit with studentscurrently attending the course.

Sgt. Amandeep Mangat, a BLC student, said Thetford spoke with them on a personal level and shared his own stories regarding leadership.

“To have the senior noncommissioned officer of CENTCOM visit, you have someone who has a wealth of experience beyond everyone else here,” he said. “For him to take time out ofhis schedule to spend it with students who are young NCOs or on the verge of becoming one and give us guidance – you can’t ask for anything better than that.”

After the BLC visit, Thetford interacted with several more units at Camp Buehring. 

“He was really nice and asked me a lot of questions about my future,” said Spc. April Smith, a signal support systems specialist with the 77th Combat Aviation Brigadeshe said. “He really showed that he cares about us."

Smith was selected by her chain of command to meet Thetford, who recognised her with a coin.

This visit gave the CENTCOM Command Sgt. Maj. the opportunity to communicate the commanding general of U.S. Central Command’s top three priorities to troops, Thetford said.

“Prepare, pursue and prevail,” he said. “Prepare. It’s all about readiness: maintaining our equipment and keeping our skills honed. Pursue is pursuing opportunities and building relationships. The last ‘P’ is prevail. We will win the current fight and we will be ready to win any future fights that come our way.”