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News | June 9, 2023

Sergeant Major of the Army, Michael Grinston, visits the Big Red One

By 1ID Public Affairs

RELEASE NO. 23-014

FORT RILEY, Kan. – On June 7, the 16th Sergeant Major of the Army, SMA Michael A. Grinston, visited Fort Riley, Kansas, to engage with Big Red One Soldiers and provide mentorship during two leader professional development (LPD) sessions.

Starting the morning in full force, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston hosted his LPD session with a selected audience of NCOs consisting primarily of first sergeants and master sergeants. During this session, Grinston highlighted his time as a former Big Red One Soldier, serving as a first sergeant, and emphasized the importance of preparing appropriately for combat and how combat can affect a Soldier’s mental and physical state.

"Don't be afraid to try something hard,” said Grinston. "If you fail, it's not because you're a terrible person. It just means you need to train more, then go back and try again. That's the number one advice I have for you in regard to future fighting."

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston reiterated this at different points during the LPD, as he wanted to emphasize the need for Soldiers to be proficient in their warrior tasks and battle drills, stating that one of his hopes is that all Soldiers will have some sort of expert badge within the next ten years.
Grinston’s second LPD session featured an array of junior and senior Soldiers in the audience, most of those Soldiers working on the Fighting First division staff. Grinston gave his insights on the various challenges Soldiers can face as they continue to rise in rank. Grinston also gave an example of the importance of Soldiers knowing how and when to seek and verify Army regulations for themselves and not continue to rely on the words of others. Lastly, Grinston noted that Soldiers should expect and want theiroccupation to become more complex as they get promoted and take on more responsibility.

"The future is in this room right now," said Grinston. "You all are the ones that are going to have to fight that next fight and you've got to be ready for that."
After the LPDs, Soldiers and leaders of the 1st Infantry Division expressed how proud they were to receive the opportunity to speak with and ask questions of the Army’s top non-commissioned officer.

"We had a visit from the SMA today, which was a special occasion," said Command Sgt. Maj. Toriano G. Jackson, command sergeant major of the 541st Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. Jackson reflected, "My favorite part was his candor, his care for Soldiers, and his ability to solve their problems."
Command Sgt. Maj. Jackson also stated, "NCOs need to have conversations with the most senior leaders in our ranks," said Jackson. "They should experience those lessons learned that make us better leaders in the future."

The Big Red One continues to prioritize its current campaign, the Big Red One – Year of the NCO, by presenting Army senior leaders with the opportunity to meet and impart their knowledge on our formations. The Big Red One – Year of the NCO campaign continues to highlight the standards, discipline and legacy of the NCO Corps.

For media questions, please contact the 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs office at

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