Fort Lee's AFAP Delegates Present Top Army Life Issues
February 27, 2008
Fort Lee, Va., (Feb. 28, 2008) -- The Fort Lee Army Family Action Plan, a program to help improve Army life, held its annual conference Feb. 20 - 22 at the Memorial Chapel.
Volunteers from all ranks and grades, military and Civilian, assembled as conference delegates to address pressing issues from housing, medical, consumer services, Family support and youth. Recommendations were presented to Maj. Gen. Mitchell H. Stevenson, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, and other leaders during an outbrief at Larkin Hall.
Stevenson said he looked forward to resolving the conference issues at the local level. Others will have to be forwarded to the Training and Doctrine Command AFAP conference.
"This isn't just something we do once a year, the AFAP is part of something we do every day, all year long," he said.
Stevenson encouraged people to bring up issues if they surface at any time, instead of waiting for this time of the year during the conference.
"I know that there are more issues than the ones we just looked at (during the outbrief), but you can be assured that we (leaders) are going to look at every one of these 36 issues. When we latch onto an issue, and we are not satisfied with it, we work on it some more. Those we can't resolve we will pass onto our higher headquarters," he said.
The community will be kept informed of the status of the issues presented through a Web site at www.leemwr.com/Comm/ACS/com_acs_afap.htm#.
Master Sgt. Latonya Mixon, Warrior Transition Unit, participated in the medical workgroup. The top issue in her group related to rank structure between senior noncommissioned officer patients and junior enlisted medical specialists.
"Junior enlisted specialists must have certain information about a patient that is personal and it places the senior ranking Soldier in an uncomfortable position," Mixon said. "It creates a communication problem."
Her group recommended more senior ranking cadre in positions that require a patient to disclose personal information.
Sgt. David Jones, 108th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, was a facilitator and recorder. His task involved keeping working groups on topic and not to spend too much time on any one issue.
"Folks sometimes get emotional and take the issues to heart," he said.
Military delegates were required to appear in civilian clothing to place every participant on an equal level and to foster honest opinions in the discussions.
"We wanted to hear everybody speaking freely, without the bait of rank," Jones said.
Mixon said it was a good opportunity to express opinions and to collectively find ways to make things better.
"We kept the recommendations at what we thought was the best decision overall," she said.
One group had one of their recommendations implemented even before the conference concluded. During the consumer service and civilian employment discussions, the general manager of the post exchange promised on the spot to fix issues the group had raised.
"The policy at the PX is that cashiers are supposed to call for backup when there are three people in line. We have seen longer lines," said Staff Sgt. Connica McFadden, Petroleum and Water Department instructor. "The manager said she would have a staff meeting to resolve that."
For others like Pvt. Gina Lacy, 58th Quartermaster Company, 240th QM Battalion, 49th QM Group, who participated in the housing group, the conference was a learning experience about the Army.
"We made a lot of progress and I learned a lot being in the group and how people feel toward some issues," Lacy said. "This was a good conference because we get to make a difference."
Mixon said she encourages all Soldiers to participate and take the conference seriously.
"Even if they are not personally affected by some of the issues raised at the time, they may be affected by them in the future," Mixon said.