Army Families quality of life in a remote location, Part One
April 7, 2011
KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of the Marshall Islands -- Along life's journey as a government employee, we are often afforded the opportunity to meet great leaders and fascinating people and to see the world. One of my primary duties is to manage the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) program, which demonstrates that Army leaders care about quality of life for the people who make up the Army Family.
For this reason, I was given an opportunity to visit Soldiers, Department of Army civilians, and their Families in Kwajalein to talk about their quality of life issues and concerns. My experience was very positive and inspiring.
Living in the 21st Century, none of us would dream of not having cell phones, blackberries, high-speed Internet, e-mail, cable television, and, of course, a car. We live in a society with all of our heart's desires within reach, and we can get what we want with no money down and pay later. Army Families in Kwajalein do not have these amenities and luxuries. They have satellite TV and dial-up connections. Fresh veggies and fruits are precious, and you don't see them every day.
If you want to take your wife out to dinner, CafAfA Pacific is the best you can do. If not, you can hold a potluck dinner by inviting the entire community. If you did, you'd ride on a bike and put the potluck dish in a basket with a toddler that is attached to the back of your bike. Or, you can just walk.
During my short visit, the community held three potluck meals, and even with limited supplies, they managed to bring different dishes. Yes, there is so much work to be done to improve the quality of life -- infrastructure, housing to be renovated, etc. These things take time and cost money. Families did not complain about what they don't have, and they were satisfied with what they do have.
It was freedom that made them content, not the things of the world. And they were proud to be Army Families. I salute them for their courage in adapting to change. Please stay tuned for part two about my visit to Fort Greely, Alaska.