By Col. Daniel Whitney, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiJuly 16, 2013
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii (July 12, 2013) -- A very special mahalo to our U.S. Army Garrison community and sister services for your tremendous support and participation in this year's 4th of July Spectacular at Schofield Barracks.
With most Army units home after 10 years of deployment, this year's event was limited to DOD ID cardholders due to safety concerns of Schofield's field capacity.
Even so, our attendance was large; yet, people were very respectful of the rules and exhibited a behavior in the true spirit of aloha. We sincerely thank each of you for that.
In every way, this year's event was excellent and a recent Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE comment, said it all:
"I just wanted to thank the folks at Schofield Barracks for one of the best 4th of July events I've attended in my life … possibly the best demonstration I've seen of good planning leading to perfect execution. From the pleasant greeting we received at the gate through the exceptional entertainment and finally (what I dreaded the most) our easy exit from the base, everything seemed to flow perfectly."
A special thank you to our garrison's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation directorate, which coordinated all aspects of the event, including entertainment, music, rides, food and crafts … an exceptional effort!
Hats off to the 8th Military Police Brigade and to our garrison's Directorate of Emergency Services, both under the great leadership of Col. Mark Jackson. His law enforcement professionals planned and implemented a flawless effort for all of us who attended, from crowd security and assistance to parking and traffic flow. It was a job extremely well done.
Please note, however, that 14 children became separated from their parents and families during the event, each a fearful experience in the midst of 30-40,000 people. Thankfully, every child was reunited with loved ones, again due to the efficient work of our law enforcement and FMWR personnel.
But this brings-up a critical point: When a child goes missing, there is a very short time window to determine if the child is lost or was abducted, requiring an intensive manpower effort.
As Col. Jackson noted at our recent community town hall, "More than 100 professionals respond to every call of a missing child; every missing child is treated as a potential child abduction."
Parents and guardians have a critical responsibility to supervise their children. Let's make this a community effort. Get to know your neighbors and their kids. Watch out for one another.
We are shortening the installation curfew period for unattended youth. It will now be ending at 10 p.m., rather than 11 p.m., all to focus on safeguarding our children.
Please ensure your children over 10 years of age carry a DOD ID card. We can never do enough nor be too vigilant in protecting our youth.
Thank you all again for a wonderful Fourth of July celebration.