Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston toured Ordnance School facilities and ate lunch with initial entry training Soldiers during a brief visit here Monday.

The 16th SMA, who assumed his duties in August, was accompanied by Ohio Congressman Troy Balderson who was gaining insights about credentialing opportunities for military personnel, with particular interest in programs that businesses from his region are helping to support. The lawmaker represents Ohio’s 12th District and has supported various veteran and job-creation bills in the past.

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Perry III, CASCOM CSM, accompanied the SMA and Balderson throughout the visit. Their first stop was at the Ordnance School’s Track/Metal Working/Service Recovery Training Department. There, they were briefed on school credentialing programs and their benefits to Soldiers upon transition. They also participated in a demonstration using the department’s state-of-the-art virtual welder.

Next, the group moved to Samuel Sharpe Dining Facility – one of the Army’s largest, with the capability to serve 3,200 Soldiers in 90 minutes – to partake in the lunchtime meal with Ordnance School troops.

Reaching the third destination of the visit, the SMA and congressman donned overalls and hardhats for their walkthrough of the Stryker Systems Maintenance Division, Wheel Maintenance Training Department. They used wrenches and other tools to help advanced individual training students install a recoil mechanism on a Stryker vehicle.

Afterward, Grinston and Balderson thanked the students for the work they do and for serving their country. They gave a special thanks to instructors and staff as well. 

Grinston, for one, said the trip was more meaningful than his first visit here over a decade ago.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Fort Lee,” he said. “This is my first visit where I had an opportunity to come down and see some of (AIT training activities). What they’ve done with the Strykers is really good work. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Grinston also expressed enthusiasm about the opportunities to engage with AIT Soldiers at the DFAC and training areas.

“I’m closer to the end (of my career) than I am to the beginning, so I think our Army is in good hands,” said the Soldier who enlisted in 1987. “These kids are smart. They really love what they’re doing, even in AIT. They’re already excited about what they do, and they really like their drill sergeants. That’s what impresses me the most. The Army is in good hands.”

The Ord. School graduates more than 20,000 Soldiers each year in more than 25 military occupational specialties. The organization is part of the Combined Arms Support Command, which also oversees the Quartermaster and Transportation schools, the Army Logistics University and the Soldier Support Center at Fort Jackson. S.C. In total, CASCOM trains more than 70,000 military and government civilian sustainers each year.