Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III got to fire a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Friday on his very first visit to Fort Sill.
Chandler has served in all tank crewman positions during his 31 years in the Army, but this was his first time inside an MLRS launcher. He found it quite a bit different.
"One of the things about being on a tank crew is you usually see where you're shooting at. So, to be in the launcher and actually fire but not really know where it's going really talks about the trust between the observer who sees where the round's going to go and the guys who shoot the rockets. Pretty cool. I really enjoyed it," Chandler told reporters.
Afterward, soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery stood in formation before a row of four MLRS launchers as Chandler thanked them for the opportunity to see what they do. Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor Poindexter, command sergeant major of 2-4 FA, presented Chandler with a pod cover from the back of one of the rockets signed by all the soldiers. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kiger, an MLRS launcher platoon sergeant, presented the Army's top NCO with a first round patrol cap.
"This is training for soldiers, and it's just coincidental that the Sergeant Major is in the (area of operations) today," Poindexter said, noting that the live fire training included elements from two 2-4 FA batteries, Alpha and Charlie.
Chandler said what impresses him about Fort Sill is "the people a positive attitude, a take-charge attitude, a lot of great training going on. The investment in simulations and constructive training really impress me, as we look to ways to be more efficient with our dollars. And then just coming out here (on the East Range) and seeing kids excited about what they do and being able to employ this system and shoot rockets. You know, it's inspiring. I'm feeling pretty good about things right now."
In his previous assignment Chandler was the first enlisted commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.