Fort Riley was the first installation visited by the Installation Management Command deputy commanding general, Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones, who was assigned the role July 2021. Though he can’t say the reason for this first destination choice is because it is his favorite, he did have good things to share about his time at Fort Riley March 23.
“This is my first visit ever to Riley,” Jones said. “I've been in uniform 30 years and (it’s) the first time I've been to Riley … I wanted to go to one of the major installations that I had not been to before. And candidly, Fort Riley has an incredible reputation across the installation community across IMCOM.”
Jones spent one day visiting work centers across the installation. He met with civilian employees and took the time to listen to what they had to say.
“I will tell you everybody was wonderful, wonderful,” Jones said. “And I mean that sincerely in terms of they were open, they shared some great ideas … where they are being creative to really take care of people, where they are being inventive in terms of providing solutions for better training ... But they also gave me some good things we can take back … with systems, whether it is resources, things that we can do at the IMCOM level to help solve those problems, you know, to make sure that the person here has the tools to be responsive to all the mission partners and all the folks that live and work here, etc.”
In addition to the information about what the people at Fort Riley need to keep performing the mission, Jones saw how the team at Fort Riley works together to support the Army’s mission – and the people who perform it.
“We are the Army's home,” Jones said. “And when you think about that, it could be a bumper sticker. It could be, you know, just a catchphrase, but when you really think about what a home is … where people live, where their communities are, where their kids go to school, where they go … to work, to deploy whatever that happens to be where they feel most protected. We are the Army's home. And when we think about it, from that perspective, I think there's no more noble part of the Army than to take care of the Army's people. You know, our Soldiers, our family members, our civilians, our Soldiers for life, but you take care of them on the Army's home. I think it's fantastic, and what I saw here in Fort Riley today is a team that is dedicated to doing that and doing that every single day. It was a great, great day.”
Jones also said visiting the childcare centers will stick with him as he returns to San Antonio.
“Seeing the kids in the CDC and a passion that childcare workers have for our people,” Jones said was impactful to him. “Because when you think about how much a CDC matters to everything that happens on the installation … and Army childcare is the gold standard across the entire industry … It's amazing to go over there today and see the innovation that folks do here at Fort Riley to take care of kids and the pride in their voices about the mission they have. That was - it was inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was glad to get over there and just thank them. I mean, they are raising our kids so that we can defend our nation. That's pretty amazing.”
That message of appreciation was what Jones said he hoped people got from his visit as well.
“Appreciation, sincere, from the heart appreciation, from both me as a Soldier, me as a family member the father of two Soldiers, but also from the leadership of the installation enterprise,” Jones said. “You know, on behalf of General Gabram (Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Gabram, IMCOM) commanding general and Command Sgt. Maj. Ulloth (Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Ulloth) our command sergeant major. My message … that I brought today was just thank you. You make a difference in what you do each and every day and it is deeply, deeply appreciated … and this is a great place, a great home for the Army.”