Milano: Thank you, Fort Jackson
April 5, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- As my wife, Kim, and I prepare to depart Fort Jackson after nearly two years of duty at this wonderful installation, we are filled with mixed emotions and fond memories. Serving at Fort Jackson has been all that we thought it would be, and more, and we will forever cherish our time here.
This tour has been tremendously fulfilling and rewarding for us. The mission we execute day in and day out is the most important in the Army -- training and developing our Army's recruits into Soldiers. On top of that, we quickly fell in love with Columbia and the Midlands area, and the installation is a crown jewel in TRADOC.
We are still in the midst of a major construction effort, but seeing the completion of our Family housing project was gratifying and another testament to the Army's commitment to our Soldiers and Families. We have gone from some of the worst housing in the Army to the best, and I'm proud that we can offer these accommodations to our permanent party.
We have witnessed equally impressive military construction on Fort Jackson during our time here, evidence of the Army's investment in the future of this installation and our mission. Our challenge as we move ahead will be to maintain what we have in our construction budget, but I'm confident whatever changes the Army decides to make, if any, will be well thought-out and what's best for Fort Jackson and the Army.
I have rarely seen in my career a more supportive and engaged local populace and civilian leadership than we have here. From Gov. Haley to Mayor Benjamin to our Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, to our congressional leadership, to our local business and civic leaders, to the University of South Carolina and other schools, to all of the volunteers, many of whom are retired military -- all have shown a genuine interest in supporting our Soldiers and Families, and for that effort we are extremely grateful. We are proud of our relationships in this community and are thankful for everything that so many do for us and for our Army.
The Army will undergo significant change throughout the next several years, change that could affect Fort Jackson in some shape or form. This right-sizing of our Army is necessary, given fiscal realities and the evolving roles and missions for the services relative to our national security strategy. I am confident that our Army will navigate this change successfully, and when it's all said and done we are going to have an Army that is even better than today's. We'll come through this all right -- we're well led by smart, engaged, caring leaders, and we know how to take care of our own. I'm excited about the future of our Army; you should be, too.
As our time at Fort Jackson and in the Army comes to an end, Kim and I are filled with many cherished memories that will remain in our hearts long after I leave active duty. The people here and our mission are what make duty at Fort Jackson special, and that will always be the case; in fact, that has been the case no matter where we've found ourselves serving our Army.
I am fully confident that you will give BG Bryan Roberts and his Family all the support and commitment to excellence that you have shown during my time as the 44th commanding general of this Army Training Center. He will bring new energy, ideas, experience and leadership to Fort Jackson, and I am excited to hear about the great things that will continue to happen here at the Army's premier training center.
Thank all of you for your service, for your commitment, for your professionalism and for making this a remarkable tour of duty for us, and for everyone else fortunate enough to be stationed here. Our very best to all of you, and it would be our good fortune to see you again somewhere on down the trail.
Victory Starts Here!