By Patrick YoungMay 17, 2019
Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield garrison leadership held a State of the Garrison May 8 at Club Stewart.
The semi-annual briefing highlighted the installation's accomplishments and future challenges, the Army and installation priorities, an awards session recognizing outstanding efforts, time in service awards and retirees, followed by a question and answer session.
Garrison Commander, Col. Jason Wolter, opened the event by congratulating employees for their outstanding support of the 3rd Infantry Division, Soldiers and their Families, which helped earn the installation the Army Communities of Excellence Award for an unprecedented seventh time. He noted the achievement in light of the recent reduction in force and active deployment schedule was indicative of the professional attitude, work ethic of the workforce, and community partnership.
Wolter said one of the immediate challenges the installation faces is the seasonal personnel turn-over noting 16 other changes across the installation including the 3rd Infantry Division command of Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas with incoming commander Maj. Gen. Antonio Aguto in May; the Hunter garrison command between Lt. Col. Kenneth Dwyer with Lt. Col. David Escobar in June; as well as his own in June with incoming garrison commander, Col. Bryan Logan.
"Readiness remains the Army's first priority," Wolter said, yet added modernization and reform were part of that effort - maximizing the value of every dollar, operating transparently and using resources wisely.
"Part of that effort is the realignment of Installation Management Command under Army Material Command - a four-star command," Wolter said, adding while the command changed, the installation's framework to provide training and power projection, improve community safety and security, investment in installation infrastructure and provide effective Soldier and Family programs, remains.
Helping execute this effort, Wolter said the workforce is anticipated to grow from 800 employees to 837 from fiscal year 2019 to 2020, which includes an increase in 38 authorizations for Directorate of Emergency Services. While the number of employees are expected to grow, the SOTG was also an opportunity to farewell others who were retiring.
Twenty six retirees were recognized including Paul Ahrens, Terry Anderson, Richard Baboian, Jon Bairnsfather, Leo Barrett, Robert Baumgardt, Revis Baxter, Dale Blocker, Duane Bostick, Keanan Caudle, Jerome Dart, Larry Durrence, Donald Estep, Michael Etheridge, Caroline Fore, Rickey Frazier, Gary Glemboski, Joseph Hightower, Deborah Jefferies, Brandt Kicklighter, Joe Reno, Kenneth Sapp, Tadd Saylor, Janie Smith and Wilma Sparks.
Seventeen other employees received Length of Service awards ranging from 30 to 40 years and more than 50 were recognized with achievement award.
Wolter said during his tenure as garrison commander, the installation has faced a number of hurdles and he realized there would be more. But Wolter expressed his confidence the installation would be successful.
"We have some challenges ahead of us," Wolter said. "But we'll face it together, as a team."