By Andrew SharbelFebruary 5, 2009
Fort Belvoir's garrison staff visited Quantico Marine Corps Base Friday to complete a staff exchange with their organizational counterparts in the Marine Corps.
Quantico visited Belvoir in September, to begin the exchange, which was held so members of the staffs could establish new relationships and gain new and fresh ideas from leaders in their respective fields.
The idea for the exchange came from Fort Belvoir Installation Commander Col. Jerry Blixt and Quantico Base Commander Col. Charles Dallachie, who are friends after crossing paths during the course of their respective careers.
"I wanted to get our garrison staff out to a different installation so they can see how they operate," Blixt said. "I was able to get some good ideas and initiatives they are able to do here at Quantico, that we can translate and incorporate at Belvoir."
MCBQ Assistant Chief of Staff, Peter Streng, began the visit with a presentation of the history of MCBQ and what the base contains.
After the presentation, Streng guided the group on a tour of the base and the town of Quantico.
Following the tour, the group conversed over lunch and then separated so each staff member could spend time with his or her respective counterparts.
Fort Belvoir Director of Public Affairs Donald Carr and his counterpart Lt. Col. Patricia Johnson covered a range of topics during their time together. Some of the topics that were discussed included Base Realignment and Closure implications, community relations, staff training and emergency procedures.
Johnson noted it was very beneficial to conduct the staff exchange because of the similarities the two bases have with one another.
"The shared interest that we have in our on-base personnel, as well as community residents who work on-base, affords us an opportunity to really work together to make things happen," Johnson said. "This is a good partnership and relationship that has been started because Fort Belvoir, as well as Quantico, have employees that live in Woodbridge, Stafford and Fredericksburg, so we have a lot of commonalities there and a lot of things we can learn from each other so these meetings are great.
"This meeting allows us to learn from each other on how to handle different issues, because Fort Belvoir experiences a lot of the same issues we have here at Quantico," Johnson said.
Gerke was pleased with the outcome for both parties and hoped to continue the relationships that were found from the session.
"Both installations are in the business of supporting organizations that have a key role in our national infrastructure," Gerke said. "That partnership, and the fact we are located in the same geographic area, presents similar challenges to both installations and the command team and this north-south dialogue can't be anything but mutually beneficial."I expect the relationship to strengthen and continue now that we got the ball rolling," Gerke said.
In addition to continuing the relationship with Quantico, Blixt said that he hopes to continue exchanging information with various other installations within the National Capital Region.
"It's a continued process," Blixt said. "I also want to continue and set up visits with other installations like Fort Lee and Fort Meade, because it will be very beneficial for our staff to see their professional counterparts work."