FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Installation Management Command commanding general visited Fort Rucker Feb. 10 to meet with leadership, tour housing and barracks facilities, and recognize outstanding employees.
Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Gabram, who earlier in his career served as the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence deputy commander, also took a close look at how the command is helping to take care of Soldiers and families, and how it can further help the Home of Army Aviation’s mission of producing the world’s finest Aviators.
Gabram said he is impressed with the work the garrison is doing to support the mission, and also Soldiers and families.
“We appreciate everything you’re doing here,” Gabram said to about 20 assembled garrison directors and employees at the end of his visit. “You’re doing it for all of the right reasons – you’re taking care of our Soldiers and families.”
The general was also impressed with the improvements being made in Fort Rucker housing, as garrison and Corvias leadership provided him a tour of a renovated housing unit in the Munson Heights neighborhood.
“The visit was fantastic,” said Col. Robert J. Holcombe, Fort Rucker garrison commander, adding that Gabram is in charge of more than 75 installations across the world. “The fact that we got the chance to have him come to Fort Rucker, and to talk to him about our issues and our post was great. We talked good things, bad things and everything in between. It was a very productive visit.
“As an aviator, in a lot of ways he was coming home, and you could tell from the questions he asked he has a deep knowledge of this place,” the garrison commander said.
“He said he loved the visit – there are a lot of things that we’re doing very well at the garrison that he can take back and spread to other garrisons,” Holcombe added. “He was very happy with the garrison’s recent achievements, the great partnerships we enjoy with our local communities and other organizations on post, and how the post runs.
“It’s evident that there’s nothing he cares about more than our Soldiers and family members – it was apparent throughout the visit,” the colonel added.
Fort Rucker leadership also discussed with Gabram the post’s planned micro-grid project – a 10 megawatt generator plant that will help Fort Rucker meet the requirements of Army Directive 2020-03.
The directive requires installations to sustain critical missions by being capable of withstanding an extended utility outage for a duration set by the senior commander or higher headquarters based on timeframes to accomplish, curtail, or relocate the critical mission. When the duration of the critical mission has not been stipulated, the Army should plan to sustain energy and water for a minimum of 14 days, according to Matthew Lowlavar, Directorate of Public Works chief of the Utilities Branch.
“At this time, Fort Rucker has a single connection to the electrical grid at its transmission substation,” Lowlavar said. “Mission-critical facilities and operations are served with numerous building-attached back-up diesel generators. In an emergency situation, with the commercial electric power grid down, we have insufficient staff to maintain the many back-up generators.
“This project will provide Fort Rucker the capability to isolate from the larger power grid into a self-sufficient micro-grid with continuous power generation capacity to meet power demand for critical missions,” he added. “By implementing the micro-grid system, Fort Rucker will reduce the impacts to critical mission operations and productivity during utility power outages by maintaining power to critical assets. It will also dramatically increase energy resilience and security. Compared to traditional backup power, the micro-grid will provide operational reliability, maintenance sustainability, safety, and intelligent management to more loads utilizing both new and existing generation assets.”
Employees recognized by Gabram with a CG coin were: Victoria Hohl-Mariani, Sgt. Maj. Jesus Goytia, Toni Hampton, Lowlavar, Robert Chenard, Cynthia Richards, Frances Turner, Brian Sykes and Carl Warren.