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NEWS | Aug. 26, 2014

Soldier helps develop Taiwanese Army

By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Nagle 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Traditionally, the Taiwanese Army was compiled of a combination of draft and volunteer Soldiers. In 2010 the army sought assistance from the U.S. Army Pacific Command to help develop its Soldiers into an all-volunteer force.

The USARPAC enlisted a team of U.S. Army Soldiers whose mission was to assist the Taiwanese Army with their goal of becoming an all-volunteer force by Jan. 1, 2016.

U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Cielito Jackson, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command career counselor was part of this team.

When Jackson and her team began working with the Taiwanese Army, upon initial observations, they noticed the Taiwanese Army had a great recruiting program, but were struggling with retaining their Soldiers, she said.

In order to develop the Taiwanese force, Jackson and her team sought to implement suggestions and processes to improve retainability. Before any of that could happen, the two forces had to learn to trust each other, said Jackson.

"It is about respect, trust and kindness," said Jackson. "Building a relationship takes work."

Once trust was built, the team was able to visit the Taiwanese Army on an annual basis.

Every October, the Taiwanese delegation visits USARPAC to discuss and cement plans for the remaining years - they call it the Executive Steering Group. At the end of their visit, an agreement will be signed at the end of the visit, said Jackson.

During annual visits to the Taiwanese Army, the USARPAC team spoke with many units to learn about their operations. Jackson noticed a lack of personnel equivalent to U.S. Army career counselors. Career counselors are used to help guide Soldiers throughout their career whether they want to make service a lifelong commitment or they want to separate once their contract is fulfilled.

The USARPAC team used their mobile retention training program to teach a few Soldiers from various units how to provide career counseling to other Soldiers. The team used this method of teaching because the Taiwanese Army had no way of sending their Soldiers to a school.

"During the mobile retention training, Soldiers were taught who to council, what to council about, how to build and sustain a program, amongst other things," said Jackson. "The focus was to learn how to retain a Soldier."

As a way of showing the trust built between the two forces, the Taiwanese Army named Jackson an honorary alumnus of their Army Academy.

"I am very much humbled that I was lucky to be trusted to be a part in Taiwanese history," said Jackson. "It was about giving my all; honesty, respect and loyalty."

Although her time with the USARPAC has ended as Jackson is now at Fort Eustis, she said she will continue to keep in touch with the Taiwanese Army and offer any assistance she can.