JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Garrison commanders and command sergeants major from Army installations around the world gathered for a three-day conference May 3-5 to collaborate on ways to enhance Soldier, family and civilian readiness.
U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s Commanding General Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram hosted this year’s Garrison Command Team Conference as an in-person event for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Garrison command teams are IMCOM’s center of gravity,” said Gabram.
“We empower you to lead the teams of professionals who operate our installations, use your judgment to solve complex problems, and your initiative to overcome big challenges. This conference gives us the ability to learn from one another and strengthen our team.”
Leaders address complex topics
The conference consisted of leader presentations on several complex topics followed by discussions to ensure attendees understood the intent of the program and their role in it. These topics included the Facilities Investment Plan, the IMCOM service culture, and the strategy to optimize Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation service delivery over the next several years.
Maj. Gen. Omar Jones, IMCOM’s Deputy Commanding General, led a panel of three garrison commanders who shared their lessons learned and best practices regarding the PCS move process.
“A Soldier doesn’t have to PCS alone,” said Jones. “When you return to your home station, you should reinforce to all your fellow leaders that it is their responsibility – those in a Soldiers’ chain of command – to lean in to help their Soldiers navigate this sometimes complicated process.” Jones went on to describe the total Army’s coordinated efforts to mitigate the labor and trucking constraints expected to continue throughout this year’s peak moving season.
Gen. Ed Daly, commanding general of U.S. Army Materiel Command and IMCOM’s higher headquarters, addressed the leaders about the importance of understanding the separate authorities the Army gives to garrison and senior commanders, and how to work within that construct to help senior commanders build readiness for people and installations.
“You are unsung heroes,” he said. “I like to call you the linemen of the Army; you’re in the trenches – blocking and tackling – grinding out the hard but essential work that moves the ball down the field.”
Learn from the experience of others
The group also heard from two guest speakers. The first was James Hunter, author of The Servant, and Gen. (Ret.) David Perkins, on effective leadership principles and the process and benefits of a commander building a cohesive team.
“I enjoyed listening to both speakers,” said Command Sergeant Maj. Tresia Huell, Joint Base Langely-Eustis Command Sergeant Major. “The information they shared with us gave us some time to self-reflect and realize we need to take time and check in with others.”
“We are constantly evolving, constantly learning, and constantly sharing and trying to get better in our professional life, and our civilian life. There are a lot of things we do every day as Army leaders that transitions over to our personal life,” she said. “It’s been great to hear from experts on how to integrate our two lives through some fairly simple thoughts and actions…and then discussing them with our peers.”
Gabram reiterated the same thought when he closed the conference on the third day. He restated the value of opportunities like this garrison command team conference to learn from the experience of others, deepen relationships through interpersonal communication, and share ideas that allow IMCOM to execute its mission: Deliver quality base support from the Strategic Support Area to enable readiness for a globally responsive Army.