By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderJune 12, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (June 12, 2014) -- Wednesday traffic can be a little intense on Fort Jackson.
It might seem like a trivial matter when grouped with topics such as weapons registration, hospital services and religious support. But Family Day activities bring hundreds of visitors to the post every Wednesday, many of them unfamiliar with the installation and surrounding area. If you are new to the post, the additional vehicle and foot traffic can be a bit of a surprise.
It was one of dozens of issues discussed last week during the installation's Post Newcomers Orientation meeting at the NCO Club. Post Command Sgt. Major William Hain cautioned new arrivals to plan carefully for Family Day activities every Wednesday.
"We get the families here and, generally speaking, keep all of the Soldiers here (on post) on Family Day," Hain told the gathering of Soldiers, family members and DA civilians during the orientation. "If you haven't noticed, Wednesday is a little bit of a zoo. It's tough to get parking at the PX. You're not going to Popeye's, Burger King or any of the fast food restaurants on that day. But that's OK."
Post Newcomers Orientation takes place the first Wednesday of each month and includes presentations on topics such as employment readiness, Survivor Outreach Services, commissary hours and online information sources.
"If you had been on this installation 10 years ago, you would be shocked at how different it looks," said Col. Michael Graese, garrison commander. "Close to a billion dollars has been invested in this installation from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2016. The Army understands that Fort Jackson was neglected for years and has put a lot of money into this installation to improve the quality of life for everybody sitting in here."
Hain said the post has a "robust" club system, and that activities for adults, children and entire families are taking place routinely throughout the year.
"You can do a lot of family-rewarding, personally-rewarding things in your off-time," Hain said. "The mission is our No. 1 priority here, but it's not the only thing we've got going on."
"I think it's very helpful, as a newcomer, to know the things that are available," said Staff Sgt. Julius Marmito, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, who attended last week's session. He said he has never participated in a similar event at other installations.
Neither had James Roetzel, who attended the session with his spouse, Lt. Col. Lisa Roetzel, recently assigned to MEDDAC.
"We're newlyweds, which is one of the reasons I wanted to bring him," Lt. Col. Roetzel said.
She said she has taken part in newcomer orientations at other hospitals, but never one that covered an entire installation.
"It was interesting to hear about the different things that go on here on post, and the improvements," she said.
Her husband shared a similar sentiment.
"I don't think it was overwhelming," James Roetzel said. "I thought it was informative, and I'm glad I came."
The Army is in a transitional stage, Fort Jackson Commanding General Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker told last
week's attendees, but reminded them that the post's mission remains critical.
"We know from history that our country will call upon us again, and it's the Soldiers we train here at Fort Jackson who will be required to answer that call," he said. "It could be a year from now, it could be 10 years from now, but it all begins here at Fort Jackson."