U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (February 22, 2019) ─ Brig. Gen. Vincent Malone, Senior Commander of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, supported by installation health, safety, and housing experts, held a candid discussion with Soldiers, residents, and staff to answer questions and address housing concerns across the military Feb. 22 at the NSSC's Hunter Auditorium.
"When it comes to life, health, and safety concerns from our people, Army leadership listens," said Malone, who also serves as Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. "It's important to have these discussions because it affects our readiness. We need to find the problems, fix the problems, and make sure the correct mechanisms are in place so these problems don't happen again."
In advance of the town hall, Malone performed an inspection of the installation's Soldier-occupied barracks and the NSSC's housing areas -- vacant pending the construction of new housing. Joined by housing, fire, and public works officials, Malone stated that no life, health, and safety issues were observed at the barracks or housing areas.
Malone, who assumed the role of Senior Commander at Natick on Jan. 5, 2018, said his predecessors set the stage for key improvements, "I'm deeply proud of this installation's previous leaders for taking care of issues so that I can stand here today and tell you that Natick is in a good place."
Malone also addressed NSSC personnel who live at nearby Hanscom Air Force Base. Though NSSC plays no role in the management of Hanscom housing, the Senior Commander expressed concern and willingness to serve as an advocate for NSSC personnel and families residing there.
"Just because you choose to live in Army Family Housing doesn't mean you abdicate or give up your right to safe living conditions," he said. "That is a right you have so you should absolutely voice your concerns to your chain of command and trust that they will get it done."
Participants said they emerged from the event better informed and confident in their leaders.
"Having (Brig. Gen.) Malone there was a great opportunity," said Pvt. Jessie Berlinger, a Human Research Volunteer at the NSSC. "He explained it well. The town hall helped to show privates and specialists about what we need to pay attention to--leaks, places water may go, our living areas."
"It gave us a bit more perspective about what is expected of us -- what to look out for and how to instruct the new incoming guys about barracks upkeep and work orders," added Staff Sgt. Carlos R. Velazquez, a squad leader with the largest Soldier Detachment on the NSSC. "It helped us prepare for room inspections. It helped us learn more about preventative measures and cleanliness. It also showed us that the leadership cares and that they're listening to us."