|Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, watches a member of the Texas Air National Guard demonstrate the disassembly process for a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 9, 2013. Jelinski-Hall was attending the Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition, which included participants from the Texas Army and Air National Guards. (National Guard photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain / Released)
Story by: Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
CAMP SWIFT, Texas – The senior enlisted adviser to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, located at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., visited with soldiers and airmen of the Texas Military Forces during an official visit to the state, Feb. 8-9.
Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, a Minnesota native and previous Hawaii National Guard senior enlisted leader, spent two-days viewing the Texas Military Forces’ joint-service “Best Warrior Competition,” which took place at the Texas Army National Guard’s Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas.
Enlisted members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard participated in a three-daylong event, where they were required to negotiate physical and mental challenges, said Command Sgt. Major Bradley C. Brandt, senior enlisted adviser for the Texas Military Forces.
“This year, we have the Air Guard integrated with the Army Guard doing this competition,” Brandt said. “We have eight Air Guardsmen, 20 Army Guardsmen out here doing various events. It’s just a great competition all together, good camaraderie going around and good morale.”
Challenges included: a six-mile road march, an obstacle course, the use of combat arms, a land navigation exercise, proficiency in various warrior tasks, writing an essay and appearing before a board that reviewed their personal appearance, military bearing and knowledge.
“One of the many benefits that I’m seeing is soldiers and airmen competing side-by-side, getting to know one another,” said Jelinski-Hall. “This is important, so when there’s a state natural disaster, a flood, fire or a tornado, they already know each other.”
In addition to watching the activities, Jelinski-Hall said she enjoys visiting with soldiers and airmen in the states and providing feedback to Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“It gives me the opportunity to get a pulse check at the individual soldier and airmen level and share their feedback with senior leadership,” Jelinski-Hall said. “Each state has different successes and challenges.”
She said leaders at all levels should be proactive in getting to know their fellow service members. They need to know what resources are available to help them, whether on-duty or in their private life.
“We need to ensure that we’re doing all we can to let the soldiers, airmen and families know that we care about them,” Jelinski-Hall said. “No matter what the challenge might be, the National Guard has a tool or resource to assist. We need to encourage them to come forward, so we can help them be successful in all aspects of their life.”