FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - One year ago, Gen. Richard Cody, then Army Vice Chief of Staff, signed the Army Family Covenant here in Hawaii, pledging a stronger commitment to Army families.

The AFC is a pact signed by Army leaders, pledging to provide a quality of life that is equal to the quality of service given by Soldiers and their families. Our Army ohana here has and continues to accomplish a great deal, particularly in the past 12 months, providing that support to Army families with enhanced quality of life initiatives.

Since that historic day last November, Soldiers and families have enjoyed such improvements as 12 free days of pet care for families of deployed Soldiers at the FMWR Pet Kennel, new equipment and free classes at fitness centers, and extended library hours at the Aliamanu Military Reservation library. Many of the AFC improvements are visible, including the beautiful new Fort Shafter Community Center and the hundreds of new homes being built on Schofield Barracks, AMR and Fort Shafter.

Other improvements aren't as visible, but just as important. In the past, the services offered at every duty station across the Army had different ways of doing business. Now, with the implementation of the AFC, those existing family programs and services are standardized and funded. For example, our Child, Youth and School Services here in Hawaii offers free registration for all families, along with expanded services for families of deployed Soldiers and wounded warriors.

The AFC improves Soldier and family readiness in a number of ways. Since Sept. 11, 2001, our units have completed several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and family readiness groups have played a vital role in keeping the Army family strong.

The AFC provided $1.3 million to support the hiring of 33 family readiness support assistants here in Hawaii, providing much-needed continuity to our unit FRG programs.

As the senior commander here, I understand the impact and the importance that a strong Army family has on our readiness. I am fully committed to providing our Soldiers and their families with a strong, supportive environment where they can make a difference in their service to the nation, and enjoy the beauty of the great state of Hawaii.

Mahalo for all that you do on a daily basis in keeping Army Hawaii a standard above the rest.

Editor's Note: This article was run in a special insert of the Hawaii Army Weekly, the post newspaper for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Army Family Covenant. To view the entire insert, visit