CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Installation Management Command – Pacific’s senior enlisted leader had a simple, yet powerful message to deliver to the U.S. Army Garrison Japan total workforce during a recent visit: “What you do matters!”
Command Sgt. Major Jason R. Copeland, who accompanied IMCOM-Pacific Region Director Craig L. Deatrick on a weeklong visit to Japan, said getting to engage with the Garrison employees was absolutely crucial.
“One of the more important aspects of what I do when I travel with the director is to thank our workforce for their service,” Copeland said during an April 13 interview. “What our civilian workforce does on a day-to-day basis absolutely has an impact on the overall mission of the Soldier.”
Copeland’s goal is to ensure employees understand how important they are to the overall mission, and how they fit into its success.
He listed examples such as Morale, Welfare and Recreation employees who provide healthy and entertaining outlets for Soldiers; Directorate of Public Works maintenance crews who work barracks and workspace issues; and every front-office employee engaging with customers on a day-to-day basis across the multitude of services the Garrison provides to the community.
He also lauded the Garrison for its focus on families.
“The most important thing I think the Garrison does is take care of the families,” he said. “The Soldiers can concentrate on the job because there is a confidence that the families are being taken care of.”
When visiting Garrisons across the region, Copeland usually joins Deatrick for some of the briefings and office calls. But he also spends a considerable amount of time on the ground engaging with and mentoring the local garrison command sergeant major and taking a deep dive into the programs that impact Soldiers and families.
USAG Japan Command Sgt. Maj. Justin E. Turner said he appreciated the chance to work directly with Copeland, and to showcase the Garrison workforce’s hard work.
“This was a truly a great opportunity to host our senior Region leadership, to let them see the challenges we face locally, and to get immediate feedback on what we’re doing right and where we can improve,” Turner said.
Copeland and Turner spent time reviewing the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, the Education Center, the Soldier for Life program, transition assistance, and the way the Garrison trains sponsors who assist with inbound personnel.
“[These are the] things that directly impact the Soldiers and their quality of life,” Copeland said. “I want to ensure the Garrison has the resources to run those critical programs.”
As part of his visit, Copeland also met with U.S. Army Japan Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson and Soldiers from across USARJ footprint to ensure they are receiving the support they need from the Garrison.
Copeland said that getting to personally visit the Garrisons is important.
Every Garrison is unique, especially across the Pacific region, with communities who deal with the extreme weather conditions of Alaska, the remoteness of Kwajalein Atoll, the unique challenges that come with being stationed on Hawaii, and the overseas life in Japan and Korea, he said.
“It’s one thing to receive a presentation … it’s another when you come to the location and you’re on the ground and you’re speaking to someone who’s living it,” he said. “As the region command sergeant major, I have to keep all of those things in mind, and I act as an advocate to the director in messaging to senior leaders what those families are experiencing.
“Questions such as, ‘What is important to your area and your region?’ are important, so we are letting senior leadership know what it’s like to serve—and to live—in these Pacific assignments,” Copeland added.
Considering what he’s seen on his visits, Copeland said Japan definitely looks like a wonderful place to work and live.
“USAG Japan is large enough that it has the things that you need, but with a small-town feel,” he said. “It’s a little piece of America in Japan.”
Great relationships with support partners are also important, he said. That includes the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Defense Commissary Agency, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.
“I’m very appreciative of those relationships because when I go back to our headquarters, I can explain to a lot of people the benefits of living in an overseas environment,” he said.
Copeland also thanked the family members in the community.
“Thanks for your constant support of your Soldier,” he said.
Copeland said he’s also very impressed with the resiliency of the youth in the community. His own children have lived in three different states and two different countries, so he knows firsthand how difficult it can be on families to pack their belongings and move thousands of miles.
“Thank you for what you do, for what you bring to the table, and never forget that the Garrison is always here to assist with everything that you may need … we are one big Army family,” Copeland said, addressing military children.
Copeland said he is also excited for his next position as the command sergeant major for the Installation Management Command, headquartered in Texas.
“I’ll be moving on to IMCOM headquarters from this position,” he said. “My role then becomes figuring out how we are integrating from Army Materiel Command and that headquarters to all of the regions, and all of the garrisons, and addressing what we need to do as an Army for them.”
He believes his experience in the Pacific will be beneficial.
“I think I bring a little bit of the overseas garrison element to the headquarters that they haven’t had in some time,” he said.
Ultimately, he’s excited to continue his service to IMCOM.
“I love this job, I love the mission of IMCOM,” he said.
And the main reason, he explained, is because of the people who comprise the command, and who stand on the front lines of serving the community every day.
“Everyone gives their all to the job because at the end of the day, they understand that’s a Solider, a family member or a peer that is being taken care of,” he said.