Thursday mornings are a busy time at the Fort Leonard Wood USO, as incoming service members and their spouses learn more about the installation and the surrounding communities.

Each week, the facility is the backdrop to a Community Orientation session, which is part of the seven-day Arrive Strong community in-processing program.

"Arrive Strong and the newcomer's briefing portion…really is a great opportunity to welcome and indoctrinate new folks, new Soldiers and their Families and those returning," said Col. Andy Herbst, U.S. Army Fort Leonard Wood Garrison commander.

"It provides the opportunity to share the commanding general's philosophy and also let them know they are going to be okay here at Fort Leonard Wood. Their safety, their security and quality of life are of the utmost importance every day they are here."

The Arrive Strong Program is designed to help Soldiers complete all their in-processing requirements within the first seven duty days after they arrive to the installation.

"(They) complete mandatory training events for in-processing, update critical records to ensure the welfare of the Soldier and their Family and (we) welcome and receive the Soldier and Family members as part of the Fort Leonard Wood team," said Felesia Herron-Bryant, chief, Warrior Reception and Departure Center.

With the mandatory orientation, Soldiers are not only in-processed, but they receive a basic overview of the community. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday with opening remarks and a welcome/briefing from garrison leadership. The session continues until 1:55 p.m. and includes briefs from Army Community Service, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Family Readiness Groups, the directorates of human resources and emergency services, housing and safety. The event also includes a Community Information Fair.

"Representatives from various city chambers of commerce and additional installation activities (experts) are available from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to answers any additional questions anyone may have," Herron-Bryant said.

The program is mandatory for service members, but Family members and civilian government/contract employees are also welcome to attend.

"We made this mandatory, because we found when people didn't come here, they would tell us that it would be good to know this information. We would like to get it up front. For that reason, we developed this program that works with their in-processing and gives them everything they need to know," Herbst said.

"They know where all the key locations are for their in processing and all the things they need to do, not just for themselves, but for their Families and their children, which are just as important to keep the Army strong."

For more information, contact Herron-Bryant at 573.596.0131, ext. 60136.