FORT LEE, Va. – Team Lee members can stay connected and informed with a new resource that’s free and available to everyone.
“The Digital Garrison app puts information about post services and events at a smartphone users’ fingertips,” touted Stephen Baker, director of the Fort Lee Public Affairs Office.
“Want to know what time the commissary opens? It will tell you. Want to know what classes ACS is offering this month? It will tell you. Want to check the latest sales at the Exchange? You can do that too with just a tap or two on the screen,” Baker elaborated. “This is a tool that will make a lot of people’s lives much easier.”
The app is a partnership venture between the Installation Management Command and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. The software can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices. Users will be prompted to set up a password-protected account. Once they select Fort Lee as their location, the app will provide the applicable information.
“I’ve been using it since it rolled out in August, and I’m pretty impressed,” Baker acknowledged. “Everything is right there in an easy-to-navigate, drop-down-menu format.”
Digital Garrison consolidates data from three related networks. Everything from gate hours and traffic alerts to facility hours and weather advisories is updated daily. If users turn on the “push notifications” feature in the communication preferences cue, they’ll receive installation-generated announcements.
“We’re working on Fort Lee’s implementation of that feature now and anticipate it will activated soon,” Baker added.
Tom Green, chief of Family and MWR’s Community Recreation Division here, offered the scenario of a fitness center closure or change of hours in support of why push notifications would be beneficial. “We would be able to quickly put that information at your fingertips through the app and our FMWR Facebook page,” he said.
Baker listed unanticipated gate, facility or road closures due to maintenance or inclement weather as other scenarios in which immediate community notification through as many channels as possible is required.
“Look at it from the perspective of where we’re at seasonally right now,” Baker said. “Late January and early February are months when we have been hammered by significant snow, ice and freezing temperature events in year’s past. That’s another reason we’re encouraging people to download the app because push notification is one more way we make the community aware of any weather delays or operational shutdowns.”
Bringing the conversation back around to convenience, Baker said the availability of the app to military, government civilians, retirees, their families and others is another noteworthy selling point. The notion of having a portable post directory in the palm of one’s hand that’s accessible 24/7 should be equally attractive.
“We take calls in our office all the time from customers who are looking for phone numbers or other facility information,” he said. “Those details can be found on our installation website, but it does require a bit of searching to find it.”
The hard-copy community guide that’s published once a year has always had a tendency to become outdated within a few months or would set unused and forgotten in storage cabinets or desk drawers. Baker noted that product will go away after the last edition is published this year (with distribution expected in the next several days). The Fort Lee Traveller newspaper was discontinued as of the Jan. 28 edition.
“We’re pushing fully forward into the digital age,” Baker confirmed, “and that’s great news for the Team Lee community because it means faster dissemination of the information they need in a format that’s more convenient to them. The DG app clearly falls into that category, so it’s going to be the perfect complement to our public affairs mission.”
The app also includes a mobile wallet feature with AAFES sales promotions and a secure method for storing payment options. Authorized Exchange customers who want to take advantage of that feature need to have or set up a user account at shopmyexchange.com. Additionally, app developers are working on an upgrade that will open access to local commissary information and a link to its “Click2Go” grocery ordering service.