FORT HOOD, Texas — The honorable Christine Wormuth, the 25th Secretary of the United States Army, toured her first major installation here, June 10, since assuming her duties on May 28.
Wormuth visited Fort Hood to receive updates on III Corps’ People First initiatives, met with junior enlisted Soldiers, and toured barracks, family housing and motorpools.
“People are the Army’s number one priority,” Wormuth said. “As (one of) our Army’s largest installations, I wanted to hear directly from the Soldiers, families, and civilians about the unique capabilities and challenges here at Fort Hood.”
Launched during fall 2020, Operation People First is an enduring campaign to build trust and strengthen bonds for all 90,000 Soldiers across III Corps – including Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Riley, Kansas. The People First program has three focus areas: getting to know Soldiers, certifying leaders and leaders holding leaders accountable for individual and unit actions.
Wormuth held a closed-door listening session with junior enlisted Soldiers from several Fort Hood brigades and battalions. Only privates through specialists were included in the hour-long discussion.
“I believe Soldiers like myself were able to express concerns with how we’re being taken care of,” Spc. Michael Alvarado, a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to Headquarters Sustainment Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps, said after the session. “It’s always good to check on the people who are doing the work; making sure we have cohesion.”
Spc. Ricardo Alma, a human resources specialist assigned to Headquarters Sustainment Company, HHB, III Corps, expressed appreciation that Wormuth was interested in barracks and security, due to her ability to influence policy changes at the Pentagon.
“It’s exciting to see her down here,” Spc. Shaun Washington, a Stryker systems maintainer assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment, said. “I’m glad she can see how we operate on the ground, how we actually live and see our truth.”
Following the morning’s briefings, Wormuth took lunch with a panel of battalion leaders, hosted at the Theodore Roosevelt Dining Facility.
“It’s such an honor to have the Secretary of the Army at this dining facility,” Sgt. 1st Class Luz Simmons, the Theodore Roosevelt Dining Facility manager, said. “It feels good to have this kind of representation in the office, I feel empowered, and I know that women can make it to the top.”
Wormuth is the first woman to serve as Secretary of the Army.
Following lunch, Wormuth toured the installation and reviewed barracks renovation projects and a mix of old and new family housing.
“I wanted to see first-hand how we are improving the quality of life for our Soldiers and their families and what still needs to be addressed at this installation and across the Army,” Wormuth said.
Wormuth concluded her visit by touring 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment’s motorpool where she met armor, infantry, and logistics Soldiers. Fort Hood boasts the Army’s largest row of motorpools, slightly over seven miles long from end-to-end, packed with tracked-vehicles, artillery equipment, strykers and tactical trucks. Wormuth concluded the day by making remarks reflecting on the corps’ efforts to improve the command’s climate and to work towards lasting cultural changes.
“Fort Hood continues to move forward to reshape how leaders communicate to their formations. The rate that units train and deploy can affect unit cohesion,” Wormuth said. “We must look at the effects of work-life balance to ensure that our Soldiers and their families have the tools needed to be mission-ready both deployed and at home.”