Year in Review: USAG-HI supports Hawaii's Army family
January 13, 2012
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- For U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, 2011 focused upon resiliency, net zero goals and operating within fiscal constraints, among other initiatives.
Directorates and offices achieved numerous milestones, from hosting the 40th Fourth of July Spectacular, to surpassing Army Emergency Relief goals, to supporting Army Force Generation, called ARFORGEN -- the Army's core process of building trained and ready forces -- with innovation.
On a regular basis, garrison supported more than 95,000 Soldiers, families, civilians and retirees; across 22 military installations and training areas; and through numerous deployments.
Soldiers, their families and civilians
USAG-HI held a successful Army Family Action Plan Conference, Feb. 8-11, at Schofield Barracks. Sixty-eight delegates attended, sorted through and prioritized 88 local issues.
Aug. 12, the Chief of Staff of the Army's Transition Team met with key leaders and conducted a family forum, at Fort Shafter, to gather feedback from families about Armywide programs.
"I walked away feeling like my concerns were heard," said Nina Elison, a family member.
Sept. 19, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, and his wife, Jeanne, hosted a forum to talk with Soldiers and spouses at the Aliamanu Military Reservation Chapel.
Then, Oct. 20, the Army Family Covenant was renewed in a re-signing ceremony.
"The re-signing ceremony is a reaffirmation of the Army's commitment and pledge to all of our families to provide you the absolute best in living conditions, employment opportunities, education and care," said Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific.
His comments were affirmed when first lady Michelle Obama visited Hawaii for the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in November. Putting veterans back to work and helping military spouses find meaningful employment were some of her concerns.
"Each time I speak with a veteran or military spouse, I am awed by their strength and resilience, and I am struck by just how much they're contributing to our communities every single day," she said.
For Army civilians, the year kicked off and ended with fiscal constraints. A two-year pay freeze and details about Hawaii's locality pay had been announced. The garrison held a series of employee town hall meetings, throughout 2011, to inform personnel about workforce restructuring and budget woes.
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation debuted numerous initiatives. Among them were an expo to spotlight Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and a new designated driver campaign.
FMWR's School Liaison Office continued to support military children and inform parents. In March, SLO notified them of changes to school boundaries; in July, it listed increased fees for bus passes. SLO announced state financial funding to support advanced placement courses in math and science; and military and government officials joined in discussions with a mainland commission to improve education for Hawaii military families.
FMWR received the 2010 Secretary of the Army Quality of Life award for its Blue Star Card and other programs, and its School Age Center received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED-Gold certification.
IPC began holding utility "mock billing" town halls to educate on-post housing residents about the new program in February.
IPC also earned LEED certification for green-building features in its homes, and received the 2011 Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Partnership Award from the Association of Defense Communities.
In September, IPC received the "Project of the Year: Green Award" from "Multifamily Executive," a trade publication.
Workforce Development, in the Directorate of Human Resources, began a 12-month Fellows Program, and Waianae's Pililaau Army Recreation Center and the Big Island's Kilauea Military Camp were reorganized under the Armed Forces Recreation Center.
Garrison hosted its first Facebook town hall, Aug. 31.
"This mix of social media and TV creates an ideal live and accessible town hall for nearly all members of our community," said Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, USAG-HI.
Oct. 1, Schofield's Tropics Recreation Center reopened as the Tropics Warrior Zone, complete with the latest high-tech amenities for authorized patrons.
Weeks later, garrison held an inaugural Community Ohana Day, for diverse community members, and supported the first-ever "Polo Paina" at historic Palm Circle, Fort Shafter.
Planned improvements to Pohakuloa Training Area, or PTA, on the Big Island, began when Cooper Airfield opened; Oahu Army Natural Resource Program, or OANRP, completed meetings to benefit endangered species on Army lands; and military and government leaders reviewed cultural resource guidelines and findings concerning cultural preservation at Makua Military Reservation.
Early on, net zero goals -- that is, balancing out use and production of resources -- took center stage at USAG-HI.
A new smart-charging micro grid system at Wheeler Army Airfield provided a clean source of "green" power and controlled electrical power within the existing grid.
"This prototype underscores our stated goal to become the Army benchmark for environmental stewardship," Mulbury said.
The garrison was recognized on many occasions. Notably, Oahu's Mililani-Waipio-Melemanu Neighborhood Board No. 25 recognized USAG-HI for its financial contributions in protecting the state's aina, or land.
The Eisenhower House at Kilauea Military Camp and the Soldiers Chapel at Schofield Barracks received Historic Hawaii Foundation preservation awards; the Schofield Barracks Commissary was recognized as the best in the Defense Commissary Agency; and Gold Star families received recognition when Gov. Abercrombie approved a license plate for children, spouses, parents, grandparents and siblings of fallen Soldiers.