READY FOR COMMAND
New Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton is asking lots of questions these days as he learns about the Garrison and the projects, programs and services it offers the 72 tenants of Redstone Arsenal. He took over as Garrison commander Oct. 15.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- It didnAca,!a,,ct take long for Col. John Hamilton to sense the Aca,!A"positive vibeAca,!A? of the Huntsville/Tennessee Valley community.

In his first 12 unofficial days at Redstone, the new Garrison commander got his initial impressions Aca,!" all good -- of the Arsenal and its Garrison. During that time, his family began to get settled in the community and his two young children enrolled in school. It didnAca,!a,,ct take long for the family of four to view Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal as home.

Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve been received with open arms,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"School administrators and teachers have bent over backwards for us. This is a great military community. The relationship with the community outside the gates is seamless, and the most seamless of any in my experience. We already feel that positive vibe.Aca,!A?

Then, on Oct. 15, when he officially took over as the Garrison commander in a change of command ceremony, Hamilton felt the full force of synergy enjoyed between the Arsenal and the local community. That synergy made itself known by the large number of community leaders who attended the ceremony.

Aca,!A"I met a lot of people that day, very quickly,Aca,!A? Hamilton said, with a smile.

That showcase of synergy is not expected to let up anytime soon, as the Arsenal prepares to participate in the local Veterans Day Parade and military-related holiday activities.

Aca,!A"The reputation of Redstone is phenomenal,Aca,!A? said the colonel, who has visited Redstone several times in his military career. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs exactly what itAca,!a,,cs set out to be. ItAca,!a,,cs a great place, a great community. And this is a great opportunity for me.Aca,!A?

Hamilton comes to Redstone as a recent graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a joint school that also includes the Coast Guard, federal agencies and corporate partners. So, there is a broad range of students,Aca,!A? Hamilton said. Aca,!A"The curriculum looks hard at how we resource the Army, which works right into a Garrison command. Although we looked at things from a strategic view, it involved how we budget resources, how we integrate with the community, how we provide services. That curriculum will serve me well.Aca,!A?

So, too, will his 20 years of service, which includes multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2002 and 2007, and a year as the assistant executive officer for the Army Materiel Command commander Gen. Ann Dunwoody in 2008-09.

Hamilton, a logistician by training, brings to the Garrison commanderAca,!a,,cs office a lot of experience from the tactical side of the Army. He has commanded units in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Aca,!A"Those challenges were very different from the challenges here,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cve never done this type of work before. This is, personally, a great opportunity to learn new systems and to be involved in planning, construction and taking care of people. In Garrison, everything we do is about taking care of people.Aca,!A?

In his various leadership positions, even though the work was focused on such logistical issues as the distribution of supplies, it was the management of people that made his jobs challenging and interesting, Hamilton said.

Aca,!A"The people executing the mission is where the focus is,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"The challenge and opportunity of taking care of them and their families is rewarding.Aca,!A?

Hamilton joins the Garrison at a time when its directors are immersed in managing changes associated with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act.

Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre entering what I believe to be a tough phase of BRAC moves,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve got to get to the finish line. WeAca,!a,,cve got a lot of great construction going on and a lot of infrastructure changes taking place. We have a great team in place to continue the transformation of this installation. We have to work hard together to push across the finish line.Aca,!A?

That finish line actually has a date Aca,!" Sept. 15, 2011. That is the date when, by law, all base realignment activities related to the 2005 BRAC must be complete. And, while the GarrisonAca,!a,,cs involvement through its Directorate of Public Works and other directorates is ensuring that the deadline is met, Hamilton said the Garrison must also focus on other issues related to those realignments.

Aca,!A"I want to look at the second and third order effects and make sure we are properly resourced,Aca,!A? Hamilton said. Aca,!A"Next summer, as we reach toward the finish of this phase, I want to make certain those things weAca,!a,,cre doing are synchronized with all our Redstone partners and the community. We will support our new and different partners and leaders with the facilitation of their transition here.Aca,!A?

While Hamilton is focused on the BRAC impact on the Arsenal, he is also concerned that the Garrison provides the local community the type of support it needs through the transition.

Aca,!A"Growth on the base results in growth outside the base,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"As the Arsenal grows, so, too, will the population in and around Redstone. And, all that will attract corporate partners to serve the federal agencies here.Aca,!A?

For that reason, Hamilton will place an emphasis on further cultivating relationships with community leaders.

Aca,!A"I absolutely feel obligated to get out and get to know those leaders and continue building partnerships,Aca,!A? he said.

To encourage and support further growth, Hamilton will continue the GarrisonAca,!a,,cs role in the development of several Arsenal facilities, including the Redstone Gateway enhanced use lease project. He is familiar with the EUL concept and its benefits from his service at the senior leadership level at AMC headquarters.

And he is looking forward to working with Aviation and Missile Command Maj. Gen. Jim Rogers, who is also the ArsenalAca,!a,,cs senior commander.

Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve never actually met each other before coming here, although we have commanded the same battalion Aca,!" the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion. He commanded eight years before me and weAca,!a,,cve both worked with the same people,Aca,!A? Hamilton said.

Aca,!A"Our roles and our duties are laid out in Army regulations. But, translated on a day-to-day basis, IAca,!a,,cm focused on his intent for those things important to Redstone Arsenal. In my position, I have to execute his intent within the framework of the Installation Management Command, which provides us with our budgets, policies and procedures, and guiding principles. I will use the framework to execute Maj. Gen. RogersAca,!a,,c intent. It will be a healthy partnership executed on the ground.Aca,!A?

It is the expectation of senior leadership to mentor young officers. Hamilton has benefitted from that mentorship as well as from Army training and experience. He first decided the Army lifestyle was for him when, as an 11th-grader, he participated in his Florida high schoolAca,!a,,cs JROTC program and was encouraged by the JROTC instructors.

Aca,!A"That led me straight into college on an ROTC scholarship,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"It absolutely transformed my life.Aca,!A?

After graduating from Florida State University in 1990, he was commissioned and assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. He began his career in leadership positions with the 407th Supply and Transport Battalion and the 782nd Main Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division. Through the course of his career, he has served as the aide-de-camp at the Defense Personnel Support Center in Philadelphia, Pa.; general supply officer in the 1st Armored Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany; company commander in the 123rd Main Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division in Dexheim, Germany; division parachute officer, support operations officer, and executive officer in the 782nd Main Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division; joint logistics plans officer, Joint Special Operations Command; battalion commander, 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division; and assistant executive officer to the commanding general, Army Materiel Command. His operational deployments include Operation Joint Endeavor in 1996, as well as Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and 2005, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-09 and 2006-07.

Aca,!A"War has shaped a lot of what we have done as Soldiers,Aca,!A? Hamilton said of the Army. Aca,!A"My last deployment was in Iraq as a battalion commander for 15 months.Aca,!A?

Although he is among Soldiers who have made sacrifices for their country, the colonel said military families such as his make the larger sacrifices.

Aca,!A"Soldiers join the Army to do those types of things. We donAca,!a,,ct want war, but when there is war, thatAca,!a,,cs what weAca,!a,,cre trained for,Aca,!A? Hamilton said.

Aca,!A"The families are the ones left behind. ItAca,!a,,cs been tough on my kids to see dad come and go. My wife (Melinda) has done a phenomenal job of taking on the burden of raising the children in the absence of their father. ItAca,!a,,cs much like being a single parent (to children Walker and Rebekah). The Army has learned a lot over the last decade in providing these families with the support they need.Aca,!A?

One of HamiltonAca,!a,,cs responsibilities as the Garrison commander is to ensure Arsenal families have the support programs and services they need. It will be one of many responsibilities that will keep him close to Garrison employees, Soldiers and their families. He is planning on spending a lot of time during the next weeks getting to know the Garrison team.

Hamilton sees his job as the Garrison commander as being three-fold Aca,!" taking care of people, identifying problems and solutions, and focusing resources.

Aca,!A"When I was commissioned as a second lieutenant, I knew nothing about Garrison command,Aca,!A? Hamilton said. Aca,!A"But, in these 20 years, IAca,!a,,cve come to recognize the importance of Garrison programs and services. We couldnAca,!a,,ct have brigades in Iraq if we donAca,!a,,ct have Garrisons back home. WeAca,!a,,cve got to have both. This is different, but itAca,!a,,cs no less important or challenging. ItAca,!a,,cs an exciting opportunity.Aca,!A?

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