FORT BENNING, GA – “We were going to make this happen, there was no doubt about it,” said Network Enterprise Center (NEC) Director Michael Childers.
“This” refers to an internet café now open 24/7 in Fort Benning’s Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU). The NEC team set up two computers on the second floor, three computers on the third floor and three computers on the fourth floor of the SRU barracks. All CAC enabled, all connected to high-speed internet and printers.
“As soon as Sgt. Maj. [Douglas] Grothen told Mr. Childers what we wanted to accomplish, he jumped right in,” said SRU Commander Lt. Col. “Dusty” Pinion. “It felt like within seconds his team was standing over here in the building to assess the situation and figure it out.”
Pinion expressed his gratitude at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“This will be a nice burden off the shoulders of squad leaders,” said Pinion. “Now you don’t have to share your computers, you can focus on the work you are supposed to be doing.”
Before the SRU internet café opened on March 21, recovering Soldiers who needed to work on their resumes or print something out had to wait until their squad leader could take a minute and lend them their computer.
“And for you guys who are here to recover, I know you’ve got internet capability in your room,” said Pinion. “But the goal here was to be able to work on college applications, do research on future jobs and resumes, future schooling, anything you need.”
Martin Army Community Hospital Commander Col. Kevin Kelly praised the SRU and NEC teams for taking the initiative on the Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville’s number one priority “People First, Winning Matters.”
“Here in the SRU, Soldiers have a mission to take care of themselves,” said Kelly. “I must commend Lt. Col. Pinion, Sgt. Maj. Grothen in partnership with the NEC’s Mr. Childers for making this happen, overcoming the obstacles and taking care of the people who matter … giving them the resources they need to accomplish their mission.”
Childers said his team worked hard, because there is no greater worthy cause.
“We are all retired. Most of us are disabled. We served,” explained Childers. “We understand there is nothing more important than taking care of Soldiers. In this, their time of need. We were going to do whatever it took, short of it being illegal, unethical or immoral.”