Posted on Jan 29, 2020
LTC Martin Metz
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A “planned for” General Officer’s visit can be more than formal briefings and the assorted “dog and pony shows”. Generals are looking for positive involvement in their down trace. A little thought, along with the prerequisite preparation goes a long way. The principles of how to “entertain” General Officers from a General Officer who mentored us field grade officers can be even more useful for those unexpected drop-in visits when there will not be time to prepare.

Here are some thoughts from Brigadier General Rose Loper, Deputy Commanding General from the 124th Army Reserve Command (Fort Lawton / Seattle, Washington) on how to “entertain” General Officers. BG Loper’s guidance has come in handy for me over a 37+ year career. I have shared it freely to help other up and coming officer succeed.

Commanders,

It occurred to me during the Commanding General’s visit to Operation Kootenai Castle in Canada that not everyone has experience with how to "entertain" a visiting General Officer. Having experienced so many visits myself over my years working in Aviation, I would like to add my comments to those already provided by the Chief of Staff.

First, keep in mind that in most cases the General Officer (GO) who visits is either your Rater or Senior Rater and therefore your goal is to make a good professional impression that says "I know what I am doing." The way to do that is to provide them an orientation briefing that covers the following:

• MISSION
• Units and organizations present
• Personnel Status: Number Authorized, Number Assigned, Number Present, account for those not present.
• Positive events that are occurring
• Issues that have arisen and mid-course correction that is in progress
• Safety - of particular interest are any accidents or incidents that have occurred or occur while the GO is present.
• Sequence of events
• Any time you give a briefing, always introduce the key players in the room and seat the GO in a place of honor. This can either be at the table or in the front row of the audience.

Second thing is to keep them moving and expose them to as many soldiers as possible.
• Arrange for them to eat their meals with soldiers.
• Arrange for them to visit with soldiers during After Action Reports (AARs) or rest breaks.
• Arrange for a junior enlisted soldier to explain a technical piece of equipment.
• Arrange for as many junior enlisted or junior officers as possible to brief the GO on their role in the exercise and what their team, squad, platoon, etc. is doing.
• If units are participating in the exercise, arrange for the GO to meet their commander and offer them an opportunity to brief their role in the exercise.
• The list can be exhaustive and you should always plan more than you need.
• Stay flexible and add, subtract things based on the GOs interest or the amount of time you have remaining.

Third thing to remember: If you aren't moving them to places you want them, they will end up in places you wish they had never found.

Fourth, use the GO to recognize soldiers who have been making a difference. Coins are good, but so are impact Army Achievement Medals and Army Commendation Medals (ARCOMs). To obtain an impact award, you will need to provide the completed form for signature and the medals themselves. Have your S-1 (HR / Admin Officer) put some in their packing boxes.

Fifth, allow some private time for you to meet with the GO to receive guidance or feedback. Ask questions and seek mentorship. This is a great opportunity to learn more.

A well planned visit will be a positive experience. Put as much time into planning the visit as you would a mission.
Posted in these groups: Officers_logo General Officers
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Responses: 4
CAPT Kevin B.
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Good as a template as any. Most pretty much follow that path. Also suggest you prepare for fragments as the VIP (doesn't have to be your boss) might have scheduled slots to pay a call on the local Delegation, mayor, or whatever. If you're around other flagpoles, they like to rub elbows there too. Make sure your VIP visit is also coordinated with whatever regional or other area flag protocol office. Make sure you take care of the aide as well. Instantly provide that aide with service internet, secure if need be, etc. If your stop is one of a circuit, make sure their laundry can be taken care of. Remember, a schedule is one thing. However it is the thought or thoughtlessness that will count. Finally, if there is something you can do one on one that isn't about MIL stuff, make it happen. I taught a Flag how to Griz a salmon out on Adak. I was his friend forever. Miss him dearly. VIPs are people. Treating them as part of the family goes farther than polishing the knob.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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I think it's called the protocol office.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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I would also work with the garrison VIP office. I forgot the name of the office.
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LTC Martin Metz
LTC Martin Metz
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BG Loper's guidance was written from a Reserve or National Guard perspective. In that environment, there is not always a Garrison Protocol Office immediately available. When available, that seems like a good resource to harness.
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