Fort Jackson opens GAT facility
From left, Staff Sgt. Brandon Harbaugh, a drill sergeant with the 165th Infantry Brigade, Post Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall, Lt. Col. Jason Kirk, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, and Brig. Gen. Bradley May, Fort Jackson's commanding general, cut the ribbon for the Global Assessment Tool facility April 28.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 29, 2010) -- Fort Jackson officials cut the ribbon on its new Global Assessment Tool facility Wednesday.

The building is equipped with 120 computers that allow Soldiers in Basic Combat Training to take their initial GAT. The computers use a kiosk software that allows Soldiers to access the GAT website by logging on with their AKO accounts, said Duane Myers, communications officer for the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Center of Excellence.

The GAT is a confidential online assessment tool that evaluates a Soldier's social, emotional, family and physical strength. Part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, all Soldiers are mandated to complete the GAT by the end of May.

The building, which formerly served as a laundry facility and as a video teleconference center, was heavily damaged and cost $1.5 million to renovate and equip, Myers said.

Work on the facility started in November and, given the short timeframe to complete the renovation, it took a concerted effort to finish it on time, Myers added.

"As with every major project it takes a collective effort, which is exactly what Fort Jackson had from the very start," Myers said, adding that most organizations on Fort Jackson were involved in the effort. "This combined team, along with weekly meetings and progress reports, which were shared with everyone, ultimately aided in turning one of Fort Jackson's most dilapidated buildings into a centerpiece to support the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness initiative as directed by the Army Chief of Staff."

Brig. Gen. Bradley May, Fort Jackson's commanding general, said that the building itself symbolizes the program it represents.

"I find it incredibly ironic, but yet so appropriate, that this building has been transformed into the building you see here today," May said during the ceremony. "This building alone reflects resiliency."

May added that as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, the Army is committed to taking care of its Soldiers, family members and civilians and that the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is a part of that commitment.

Soldiers in Basic Combat Training will take the GAT during the first few weeks of training. The GAT facility accommodates two companies, or 480 Soldiers, each day. An estimated 25,000 Soldiers will use the facility this fiscal year and approximately 48,000 Soldiers will use the facility annually after that.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16