Warrior Ethos: Wiesbaden-based senior NCOs focus on improving health of the force
August 16, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Command Sgt. Maj. Sa'eed Mustafa likes it when he sees "what right looks like," and a trio from Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers showed him just that Aug. 3.
"I get goose bumps just listening to this young Soldier right here," said Mustafa, referring to Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Spc. Jayse Knapp, who had just spoken about the program during a luncheon Mustafa organized for the community's sergeants major at the dining facility.
"If we had more Soldiers like this, out there doing the types of things these Soldiers right here are doing, we'd have fewer DWIs, less domestic violence, fewer drug problems and all of the other issues that we have sometimes with some of our junior Soldiers," Mustafa said.
Mustafa, who assumed responsibility in July, also used the time to recognize the volunteer work of BOSS volunteers Spc. Charles Auteberry and Sgt. Jesse Mathews of the 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion.
Auteberry, also an Eagle Scout, and Mathews volunteered more than 80 hours of time with to the Pack 65 Cub Scout Rheingold District Day Camp at the Rheinblick Recreation Complex the week of July 25-29, said Knapp.
The "What Right Looks Like" spots from the U.S. Army Europe came to mind when thinking about Auteberry and Mathews, Mustafa said.
"When you've got Soldiers out there volunteering their own personal time to do these types of things it makes the community better," Mustafa said. "Obviously it helps grow them as good Soldiers and leaders, and then it mitigates all that other foolishness that we've got to deal with out there."
Knapp updated the senior NCOs on recent BOSS volunteer activities and upcoming trips.
"We have a very positive reputation," Knapp said. "We go on free or discounted trips. We have free food and free barbecues. We volunteer at everything. All of the Soldiers who want to be in it are in it and do amazing things."
Mustafa asked the sergeants major to encourage single Soldiers to get involved in BOSS. "These are once-in-lifetime types of opportunities, and it would be a shame for them to be in Europe and not take advantage of them," Mustafa said.
In addition to news on the activeness of BOSS, the sergeants major also heard briefings from Housing, Andrews Federal Credit Union, Military Personnel Division, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Directorate of Emergency Services.
Victor DiMarzo, supervisory housing specialist, said the garrison is in the process of giving management control of the barracks back to the units, and garrison officials expect the barracks to go back to the units by mid-September.
The garrison will continue to provide support and training after the transition, DiMarzo said.
In other barracks news, all but two of the barracks buildings have transponder locks, DiMarzo said, but Soldiers need to be aware that lost keys cost $53 to replace.
Earnestine Hatley, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Military Personnel Division chief, said her office is making significant progress on completing a garrison-wide initiative aimed at identifying trained sponsors.
Sgt. 1st Class Rolando DeLeon, a military police officer representing DES said the community needs to work toward decreasing incidents of driving under the influence charges.
Four Soldiers assigned to Wiesbaden were charged with DUI in the last three months, DeLeon said. "Four DUIs in under a 90-day period is an awful lot of DUIs for Soldiers," he said, noting that. AAFES sells breathalyzers for about $4 a piece, and he encouraged people to use them.
DeLeon also encouraged the sergeants major to participate in a ride along program that Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, USAREUR commander, spearheaded. The ride-alongs take place on weekends and holidays and during the hours of darkness, DeLeon said.
"My MPs are going to take you out and show you all the hot spots of where the Soldiers hang out," DeLeon said.
Al Johnson, vice president of overseas operations of Andrews Federal Credit Union, said bank representatives are available to come to units for personal finance education.
"I see too many Soldiers using ATM machines, and they throw the receipts in the trash, and they don't maintain a check register, so we end up with (charges for insufficient funds). They write a check for $10 and end up paying about a $45 NSF in the process. getting $45 for $10 to me just doesn't make sense," Johnson said.
Jeff Wagaman, District One international commander for the VFW, said the organization is 2.1 million strong worldwide, and has more than 15,000 members in Europe. Wiesbaden, he said, is the largest VFW post in the world, with just under 3,000 members aimed at helping Soldiers with grants, lobbying Congress on behalf of veterans' issues and providing financial support to youth organizations.
The VFW is about strength in numbers, Wagaman said, and he encouraged Soldiers to become members if they are not already.
"It's not about the now, because you might not need the services now, because we're all young and healthy and hooah, hooah, but down the road when you're broke, you're hurt, you're disabled, who do you turn to? You turn to the VA for your…help," Wagaman said.
The VFW in Wiesbaden meets the second Thursday of every month at Building 7005, Crestview Housing Marsweg 3, 65191 Wiesbaden. Meetings start at 5 p.m. with socializing, and at 7 p.m. the organization starts meeting business. For more information, visit www.vfwpost27.org.
Visit www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/mwr/boss for more information about BOSS or call mil 337-5042 or civ (0611) 705-5042.