Baumholder works to minimize personnel cuts
January 22, 2013
A slapstick newcomers video, and a look at Baumholder's past, present and future set an upbeat tone at the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder personnel assembly Jan. 16 but the downside came when it was announced that five personnel positions will be affected by a reduction in force action.
James Chen, USAG Baumholder deputy to the garrison commander, announced the position cuts, saying they affected employees from Baumholder's Joint Multinational Training Center. The occupational series affected are Electrician A4-6; Supply C-5 and below; and Admin C-5 and below.
Chen explained that last year, USAREUR put out a message directing the theater to transform in terms of workforce and to reduce its footprint. Part of that transmission was the 170 IBCT deactivation, the closures of Bamburg and Heidelberg and consolidation of functions of various units throughout the theater. One of those units is the JMTC here at Baumholder. He added that tools are available to management that can possibly help place these candidates and avoid having to RIF anybody in Baumholder.
"I promise you I'll work hard with the member agencies in the works council and with the local works council to ensure that we can do that without RIFing anybody here on Baumholder," said Chen.
Before the RIF announcement, Lt. Col. Mike Sullivan, USAG Baumholder commander, recognized numerous employees for their excellent work performance and provided a state of the garrison report.
"What I'd like to do is talk about where the garrison has been, where we are today and where I think we're going," said Sullivan
In February of 2012 the Baumholder community was hit with the news that the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team was to deactivate by October. "What that did was put everybody in this room in a spin," said Sullivan.
"I'd like to take a moment and go through some of the things every one of you helped accomplish. We closed out the brigade with six battalions and three companies; 543 facilities were cleared; 19,000 personnel actions were completed and 4,000 Soldiers came back from Afghanistan. Over 2,000 barracks rooms were cleared out; 1,000 housing units were cleared out and more than 600 off post quarters were closed out. Over 4,600 Soldiers were cleared and out processed and more than 8,000 airline tickets were issued to Soldiers and family members," said Sullivan.
As far as what Baumholder currently looks like, Sullivan said he wants to see the garrison continue to set the standard for quality and to make sure that mission readiness and well being are taken care of. "Key to that is maintaining an effective partnership with our German partners and neighbors," said Sullivan.
Turning to the future, Sullivan's vision for Baumholder presented an intriguing concept. "What I envision is Baumholder as 'training area west' for all of Germany. Comparing Baumholder to Grafenwoehr he said, "I think we have just as good if not better facilities here at Baumholder. We're working close with USAREUR to develop a 'training area east,' Grafenwoehr, and 'training area west,' Baumholder. If you're stationed in Kaiserslautern you should not have to travel to Grafenwoehr for your schools or your training," said Sullivan.
Another change on the horizon is the way that Soldiers will deploy from Baumholder. Instead of a brigade of Soldiers deploying somewhere, small units will most likely deploy to multiple locations. "We have a unit from Baumholder right now in Turkey. We have Soldiers in Afghanistan and the locations of possible future deployments can be anywhere in the EUCOM or AFRICOM footprint, which means we have to continue to prepare Soldiers and their families to deploy around the world," said Sullivan.
All of these units will total 2,300 Soldiers and about 3,500 family members.
The USAG Baumholder will continue to take care of these Soldiers and families.
Since taking care of Soldiers and their families is the garrison's lifeblood, the garrison wants to reach out to these new community members before they even arrive. Sullivan introduced a newcomers video that is now on the garrison web site so potential newcomers can see what to expect when they first set foot on "The Rock."
The video features members of the Baumholder community and offers a lighthearted but comprehensive view of what newcomers can expect and what they should know before arriving on Baumholder.