By Pfc. Edwin Petzke, 20th Public Affairs DetachmentOctober 2, 2019
CAMP HENRY, Republic of Korea-- U.S. Army Garrison Daegu held a Community Information Gathering on Camp Walker Sept. 30, which gave the leaders of Area IV, Soldiers, Families and community service providers an opportunity to discuss issues, concerns, solutions and important information pertinent to the Area IV community.
This month's CIG was extremely important because it served as an opportunity for USAG Daegu to discuss in depth its Army Quarterly Housing Assessment. It also provided the Garrison an opportunity to update the community on its recent spouse hiring initiatives.
Maj. Tom Douglas, the facilities engineer and acting chief of housing for USAG Daegu, briefed the CIG attendees on current and future housing projects and reaffirmed USAG Daegu's commitment to providing the very best Army Family Housing and quality of life initiatives for Soldiers and Families here in Area IV.
After giving a thorough briefing on Area IV's Army Family Housing Tower implementation plan, construction updates to the barracks facilities at Camp Carroll and other quality of life construction initiatives like pet parks, bike paths, barbeque grills, new bus routes and new parking -- Douglas spoke about one life-health-safety issue the Garrison identified weeks earlier and the steps taken to correct the problem.
The safety and the environmental offices identified a bed bug infestation in one of the barracks facilities at Camp Carroll several weeks ago, Douglas said. The issue was immediately remedied, but in order to best combat this type of problem in the future, USAG Daegu recently purchased two industrial-grade heaters, made specifically to kill all insects.
"We no longer need to shut down the barracks for six weeks while we fumigate," said Douglas. "We can now achieve the cleaning in three days without the use of toxic gas. And this equipment is available for the barracks, Army Family Housing and office spaces."
The last thing Douglas spoke about during the CIG was the Camp Walker and Camp Carroll self help stores.
"There's an extensive list of equipment available there that can be used by the units, family housing and for the barracks," said Douglas, "and the stores are now open on Saturdays, too."
The CIG is a tool the Garrison uses to provide information to its community members, and the community members are able to ask questions and voice their concerns, as well. With the new Army Family Housing Towers on Camp Walker and many other projects and upgrades in Area IV, it was expected there would be a lot of questions and concerns. The USAG Daegu command team used the CIG to identify these concerns. Their goal is to take this information and create new initiatives and projects and make changes to others, and ultimately provide the best possible quality of life for all the Soldiers and their Families in Area IV.
"I believe information is one of the hardest thing to find," said Jack Delaney, the business and recreation chief for Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. "This is one of the venues that we can provide to the community, and if you can't make it in person you can watch and interact on Facebook Live."
James Ivey, a family member in Area IV, said this was only the second CIG he attended, and it provided him with information that he wouldn't be able to get otherwise.
"Both of my kids go to Daegu Elementary," said Ivey. "I look for all of the school information that they may not bring home. It also gave me an opportunity to receive more information on the direct hire policy."
In attendance were Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly and Command Sgt. Maj. LaDerek Green from the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command; 8th Army Deputy Commanding General for Operations and Area IV Senior Responsible Officer Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahoe; and U.S. Forces Korea Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud, along with several Area IV battalion and brigade command teams. Col. Ed Ballanco and Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Cline, the USAG Daegu and Area IV command team, hosted the event.
Having all of these inviting and open leaders from Area IV and across the Peninsula in one room created a pleasant atmosphere, which put the Soldiers and Families at ease and made it easier for them to express their concerns and ask questions. Everyone in attendance listened carefully and worked together to resolve issues or concerns.
"When I was at a recent Punt, Pass, and Kick event, I had no idea who I was working with," said Ivey. "Little did I know the people I was working with are the same people leading this CIG. It makes them feel more inviting, which makes it easier for others to resolve the problems they have and receive all the information possible."
One example of an issue raised at this CIG was large pets being placed in the baggage compartments of the contracted buses between Osan Air Base and Area IV. The leaders listened to the community members' concern, which was brought to their attention for the first time, and in less than 24 hours the policy was published and the concern no longer exists. No pets are allowed in the baggage compartments under the buses, and the USAG Daegu leadership immediately received positive feedback and appreciation from several Area IV community members.
The next USAG Daegu and Area IV CIG is scheduled for Nov. 12. More information about this event will be published soon.