This is a job for ... Captain MWR': Post superheroes fight family blahs
December 2, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Look! It's a bird. It's a plane. No, wait. It's Captain MWR and his sidekick Dot Com.
The dynamic duo is patrolling Fort Jackson in search of low morale, frowns and expensive recreation. Created as a way to raise awareness about the programs provided by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the superheroes have evolved from conducting simple battalion briefings to evoking smiles from Soldiers and children alike.
"People are surprised when they see us," said Captain MWR, whose mortal name is John Keegan, FMWR Marketing director. "It never fails when we go down the street. People stop in their tracks, look at us and smile."
Dot Com, whose real identity is Theresa O'Hagan, a marketing and advertising specialist, agrees, sort of.
"Or they think we are crazy," she said. "When people see an adult dressed as a superhero and it isn't Halloween, it really does make them smile."
Keegan created Captain MWR more than 10 years ago as a way to increase awareness about the types of programs and services the directorate offers Soldiers and their families.
"My wife sewed me a cape and mask, and the rest is history," Captain MWR said. "I don't really like dressing up, but I think people need to laugh and smile. I would put a lampshade on my head if I thought it would help."
Captain MWR's next mission was to increase the readership of FMWR ads appearing in the Fort Jackson Leader. Readers had to find small Captain MWRs printed on the ads and use them to spell out a phrase. Those who completed the phrase were entered in a $250 weekly drawing.
"That really helped increase the readership of our ads," Captain MWR said. "Not enough people know about FMWR activities. That is why we do it."
With the addition of the Fort Jackson FMWR website came a side kick for Captain MWR - Dot Com - who is used to promote social media.
Like most superheroes, the Fort Jackson duo possess superpowers such as the ability to raise morale, correct dwindling funds, make people happy and make something out of nothing.
"We have a bigger job than we used to about getting the word out about FMWR," Captain MWR said. "I have seen people living in family housing who don't even know what FMWR does."
There are many FMWR programs and activities that go unused because either Soldiers and their family members are unaware of them or don't have the time, the superheroes said. Many BCT and AIT Soldiers don't even know the agency exists, Captain MWR said.
An example of an FMWR event that did not meet attendance expectations was a free buffet at the NCO Club that featured prime rib and lobster.
"It is frustrating. We do all we can to advertise and get the word out," Captain MWR said. "If they don't support them they will go away. And if they don't know about them, they can't support them. FMWR is about having fun and making sure Soldiers and their families have a great quality of life."
In addition to battalion and brigade briefings, the superheroes attend installation events handing out gifts and smiles.
"People get into it and fall into the role," Captain MWR said. "I usually say, 'Hello, good citizen. Is your morale low' Are your funds dwindling' Who you gonna call' Captain MWR.'"
Meanwhile, at their secret headquarters in the Joe E. Mann building, Dot Com is planning a covert mission.
"Don't tell Captain MWR," Dot Com said. "I am planning a coup to take over."