SCHOFIELD BARRACKS - The Army Vice Chief of Staff and senior leaders from around Hawaii signed the Army Family Covenant here Nov. 1, pledging a stronger commitment to Army Families.

Gen. Richard Cody joined Brig. Gen. Raymond Mason, commander, 8th Theater Support Command; Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii; Command Sgt. Maj. Harry Collins, command sergeant major, 8th TSC and Command Sgt. Maj. James Brown, command sergeant major, U.S. Army Garrison-Oahu, in signing the Covenant during a ceremony held at the new Kalakua Community Center.

"We are an Army at war," Cody said. "The sacrifices of our Soldiers and their selfless service are important, but equally important are the sacrifices and service of our great Army Families. This is a commitment by our Army to take care of you while your Soldier is deployed."

According to Cody, the Army has committed $40 billion over the next six years to support Family programs and quality of life initiatives.

"The Army's leadership is taking positive steps to improving family readiness," Margotta added, "by standardizing and funding existing family programs and services, increasing accessibility to and the quality of health care; ensuring excellence in schools, youth services, and childcare; expanding education and employment opportunities for family members; and improving housing."

Soldiers and Family members were brought on stage to witness the Covenant signing. Although Lissette Agurre is new to the Army Family, she sees the importance of the Army Family Covenant.

"The Covenant means that my kids will be taken care of," she said. "I think that is the most important thing."

For Spc. Chaz Walker, 732nd Military Intelligence Battalion, the Covenant means a better quality of life around Hawaii.

"To me, the Covenant means the Army is giving back to us," he said. "It means better housing and better facilities on post such as medical and the chapel. This shows that our leadership cares about the Family and is doing everything they can to help."

Of the $40 billion pledged by the Army, $2.3 billion is earmarked for Hawaii. According to Margotta, Army posts in Hawaii are already seeing the improvements in family programs and quality of life initiatives.

"This beautiful community center and the many new homes and planned communities around our installation are prime examples of the Army's commitment to improving the quality of life for Hawaii's Soldiers and their Families," he said.

He added that through the public/private partnership of the $2.3 billion Residential Communities Initiative, the Army will build 8,000 homes, eliminating inadequate housing and the current deficit of on-post homes.

Other initiatives in Hawaii include:

- A $720,000 renovation of the Soldier and Family Assistance Center and funding for the recruitment of nine support staff.

- The $30 million, 175,000 square foot Post Exchange on Schofield Barracks.

- The $930,000 renovation of the Schofield Barracks Main Post Chapel and a new $12 million chapel for Fort Shafter scheduled to begin construction in 2012.

- Approximately $1.3 million to support the hiring of 33 Family Readiness Support Assistants throughout Hawaii and their mission of supporting Unit Family Readiness programs and activities.

- A new $12.5 million child care center designed to provide care for almost 200 children aged 6-10, scheduled for construction at Schofield Barracks in 2008.

"Our Army Families have given so much to their Soldiers and America's Army," Mason said. "Our families ask for so little, but yet, we truly owe them so much. The debt that we as a nation owe can never truly be repaid. However, this day and these surroundings are at least a small down payment on that debt."

Cody, who is making his way to Army posts around the globe to sign the Covenant, says taking care of Army Families is an important step to win the War on Terror.

"We are an all-volunteer Army and we're an Army at war," he added. "The reason why our Soldiers fight and are so brave, and why they're so strong is because they want their families and their children to grow in the country they grew up in with the same freedoms and the same quality of life."

The Army Family Covenant

We recognize the commitment and increasing sacrifices that our families are making every day.

We recognize the strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their Families.

We are committed to providing Soldiers and Families a Quality of Life that is commensurate with their service.

We are committed to providing our Families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive.

We are committed to building a partnership with Army Families that enhances their strength and resilience. We are committed to improving Family readiness by:
Aca,!Ac Standardizing and funding existing Family programs and services
Aca,!Ac Increasing accessibility and quality of healthcare
Aca,!Ac Improving Soldier and Family housing
Aca,!Ac Ensuring excellence in schools, youth services, and child care
Aca,!Ac Expanding education and employment opportunities for Family members

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