By Noriko KudoApril 26, 2016
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 27) - Dr. Christine Altendorf and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy D. Hockenberry, director and command sergeant major of Installation Management Command - Pacific, respectively, visited Camp Zama April 22 during a tour of installations and received an overview of how USAG Japan operates on a day-to-day basis.
Altendorf and Hockenberry briefly visited the installation back in July 2015 for a change of command ceremony; however, Altendorf said she was barely able to "touch the surface" during that visit.
After spending time at U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa, Altendorf and Hockenberry visited Kure installation before reaching Camp Zama.
Col. William B. Johnson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, said this tour allowed him to show Altendorf and Hockenberry some critical capabilities that the garrison supports and what mission units here, particularly at Sagami General Depot installation, can provide in terms of readiness for war time contingencies, disaster relief and any number of other potential Army missions in the Pacific region.
Altendorf and Hockenberry first toured the newly constructed housing on the Sagamihara Family Housing Area installation, then conducted a round table discussion with USAG Japan's directors and senior leaders.
After presenting the Soldiers and USAG Japan employees with awards for their "excellent achievements," Altendorf and Hockenberry toured the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade, Logistics Readiness Center-Honshu, at SGD installation, to see their daily operations.
Altendorf said this visit wasn't just her seeing what IMCOM does for IMCOM, instead she was able to meet the people that IMCOM supports.
"I was able to really see the importance of IMCOM but even more so, the value of us having to work very closely with the mission component that we support," she said.
Making sure IMCOM in valuable and is there to support the mission component- by being collaborative with its own organizations, but with the other Army components and also with the local communities that surround IMCOM- Pacific's installations is what is most important, said Altendorf.
"Everybody works with everybody else as a team to get things done," she said.
Altendorf and Hockenberry also had an opportunity to meet with several Local National Employees from 403rd AFSB, LRC-Honshu on SGD.
"I am so impressed because the bulk of our staff are Local Nationals," said Altendorf, and the skills that the Local National workforce has- and the pride that they bring to work every day is amazing.
There is a great partnership that the US and Japan share, that allows for the US to have such support for Soldiers and Families, she said.
"Their skills are impeccable, their work is impeccable," said Altendorf. "We are really blessed to have workforce of such a high caliber. The Local National workforce is amazing!"
Altendorf said she was also impressed by the leadership during her visit.
"Really looking at the relationships that are in place, I have strong garrison commanders right now," said Altendorf. "They have done a great job."
IMCOM was separated in Nov. 2015 from the Army's Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM), now with its own three-star commander. It shows the importance of IMCOM from the Army, said Altendorf. The mission side can focus on the things to keep the Soldiers ready, and IMCOM can make sure Soldier and Family services are taken care of.
"We are definitely needed by the mission side- it's good for them to be able to look to us to support their needs- we will help the mission side with their readiness," she said.
Hockenberry, also impressed by the tour, said he was able to get better appreciation for what all USAG Japan has under their control.
"It was truly unique and different," he said.
"It adds more of a complexity to what we do as a garrison," said Hockenberry, "and how distance everything is from one another.
"You can look at it on a map, but until you actually get here- and get on a boat... get on a train... get on a bus- you really don't put that into a real good perspective."
There are several different mission commands at USAG Japan; however, they all support one another, while working for different people, said Hockenberry. This tour allowed for IMCOM leadership to get a better understanding of the "mission side," and how the garrisons can better support that mission.
Hockenberry said this tour provided him with an "eye-opening" experience, to see how the Japanese workforce helps USAG Japan complete their mission.
"If we didn't have the professional force helping us we would not be able to do what we do on a daily basis," he said.
Johnson said this visit gave IMCOM-Pacific's senior leaders an enhanced appreciation of how vast, important and capable the Army's mission is in Japan.