ASAIEE tours Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
July 13, 2011
By Rhonda Apple
Senior leadership from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall met Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, Katherine Hammack, when she visited the installation June 29. Following a brief visit with Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., Hammack and Coffman met the directorates and began the tour at Grant Hall, Bldg. 20 at Fort McNair. Grant Hall was originally built in 1830-1831 as an addition to a federal penitentiary to house female inmates. The penitentiary became the center of national attention in 1865 when the trial and sentencing of those implicated in the assassination of President Lincoln was held on the third floor of Grant Hall. Four conspirators were sentenced to death to include the first woman executed by federal order, Mary Surratt.
The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the $4.5 million project, part of the Army’s Sustainment, Modernization and Restoration program.
Wearing hard hats, safety glasses and vests, the group saw the historic renovation project. A windshield tour of Henderson Hall was included on the tour, which also made stops to Cody Child Development Center, the largest child care center in the Army.
A stop was also made to general officer Family housing garages for a solar initiative project overview. Hammack was briefed on garage replacement and the installation of solar panels, to be used to power electricity to the general and flag officer quarters used to house senior leadership on the installation. Hammack said she has been to JBM-HH for ceremonial events but never had the opportunity to tour the base until June 29.
Hammack and the directorates toured majestic Quarters Six, which stands in line on the installation’s Grant Avenue, overlooking the site of Fort Whipple which guarded Washington during the Civil War. Since 1962 it is both the past home of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the future home of the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs when renovation is complete later this year.
A tour to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Stables allowed Hammack to learn about the Caisson composting initiative on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
She also was given a tour of the Stables by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Steven Abernathy, Caisson platoon leader and Sgt. 1st Class James Dean, Caisson platoon sergeant. They answered questions about the horses and The Old Guard Soldiers’ duties. Hammack also saw the wash station.
“It was fun to see what they’re doing at the stables and how they’re going to be taking a waste product and turning something that goes to the landfill into a usable product” said Hammack. She was also impressed with the Old Guard Soldiers “figuring out how to wash horses better with a different shampoo product.”
Hammack said she likes the fact that Soldiers are empowered to think about ways creatively to come up with solutions to problems.
“A solution to a problem [at Caisson Stables] was instead of throwing away five shampoo bottles a day, they got a big barrel for the shampoo and change it out every three months,” she said.
“That’s a marvelous idea.
“We need to encourage our Soldiers to offer up ideas and bring them to the attention of our leaders,” said Hammack.
Following the installation tour, Hammack dined with female Soldiers at the JBM-HH Dining Facility, then met with Sgt. Maj. James Jackson, Executive Management Housing and toured the newly constructed barracks, Bldg. 421, due to open this month.
“The new barracks are beautiful and really well laid out,” said Hammack.
“I think the Soldiers are going to love it.”
“We do a lot of talk about net zero energy water and waste so we think about the energy we’re using,” said Hammack.
“We really shouldn’t be using more than we generate on site.”
She said the same goes for water. “We really shouldn’t be irrigating our lawns with drinking water. We should be reusing rain, shower or laundry water to water our lawns.”
Hammack also suggested thinking about how to not generate waste.
“We need to look through our trash, see what the extreme is and think about ways to minimize it,” she said.
“There are things we can all do and I am really pleased by the things I saw [on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall] today,” said Hammack.
“There is great leadership and great Soldiers doing the right things for the right reasons.”