SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Army Hawaii welcomed a new concept in barracks management with a First Sergeants Barracks Initiative (FSBI) ceremony, here, Feb. 27.

A partnership between U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI) and Goodwill Contract Services, Hawaii, takes the burden of housing single Soldiers off commanders and first sergeants and allocates the duties to Army Hawaii Soldier Housing (ASH).

The new management service aims to provide outstanding service and convenience for all Soldiers living in single Soldier housing, and it's committed to providing safe and healthy living spaces for all Soldiers.

Currently, ASH is responsible for 6,500 barracks spaces across U.S. Army-Hawaii. The group provides management through Goodwill Contract Services, Hawaii. ASH will provide responsive action to lock-outs, maintenance and other room issues and will expedient in- and out-processing services.

"I remember when I first came in the Army," said Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI. "We had 12 to 18 guys in a dorm room and gang latrines."

All that has changed. Soldiers now get their own rooms and share a bathroom and a kitchenette.

Customer service is important to USAG-HI, said Ann O'Leary, Residential Communities Initiative project manager, USAG-HI. In order to provide that service to Soldiers, ASH provides 24-hour management offices near all barracks locations.

The 24-hour management offices ASH provides near all barracks locations allows senior leaders to focus on training rather than worry if their troops have a place to sleep.

"We used to have to run around looking for rooms when Soldiers came in," said Sgt. Maj. Giles Almeida, operations sergeant major, USAG-HI. "Now FSBI finds rooms for us."

While the ASH team provides management, commanders and first sergeants still own the buildings and are responsible for Soldiers' actions.

"It's a good idea," said Sgt. Maj. Keith Entwistle, rear headquarters sergeant major, 130th Engineer Brigade. "It takes the burden off commanders for upkeep of buildings, but we'll still be in there making sure the Soldiers are maintaining their spaces and are squared away."

With the FSBI, single Soldiers are getting even better service. Now when Soldiers arrive on post, they are provided a room with a bed that is made, and on the bed is a piece of chocolate and a note thanking the Soldier for their service.

"First sergeants are great, but I've never had one that did that for me," Margotta said, with a chuckle.

Not only is the initiative great for Soldiers, but senior enlisted are happy about the changes, too.

In the end, Soldiers are the biggest beneficiaries of the initiative.