JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Supporting Army Survivors and Families was the subject of Tuesday’s virtual town hall event hosted by Lt. Gen. Omar J. Jones, Commanding General of U.S. Army Installation Management Command.
Les Hargett, IMCOM’s Retirement Services program manager, emceed the event that featured remarks by Command Sergeant Major Jason R. Copeland, IMCOM CSM, and Maj. Gen. Walter M. Duzzny, Army Materiel Command Chief of Staff.
Other Army leaders who engaged the audience of about 130 people from across the Army included Col. Michelle Schaumberg, chief of Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs from Human Resources Command; Bryan Williams, IMCOM HQ Survivors Outreach Services program manager; and Mark Williams, director of Army Retirement Services at Headquarters Department of the Army. A question-and-answer session was held afterward.
“My message is thank you,” Jones said. “Thank you for your service, leadership and for what you do for the 2.1 million active, reserve, retired Soldiers, family members and survivors that you all support and serve. It makes a difference and goes a long way for all of our people.”
During the town hall, Jones shared a soldier’s perspective after he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1992.
“I have deployed eight times – four operational and four combat deployments,” Jones said. “When you’re getting ready to deploy and you’re getting ready to go to war, the things that give you confidence, first and foremost, is your training, your team and cohesiveness.
“But the other thing that’s on your mind is if you were to fall, who was going to be there to take care of your family? Every time I got on a plane to go overseas, I knew the Army was going to be there for my wife and my sons. That feeling of confidence that you have that your family is going to be taken care of allows you to focus on the mission that our nation and Army has asked you to do. You personify that confidence each and every day in what you do for our survivors. Our soldiers see this and it makes an incredible impact.”
As a general officer who has served his nation for 30 years, Jones acknowledged he’s closer to retirement than to starting his military career.
“Knowing the programs that are out there, the support that is out there to folks going through transition and folks that are retired, again, gives you tremendous confidence to take off that uniform and know you’re still part of the Army family,” Jones said.
Copeland echoed the family sentiment.
“I liked when they changed the motto ‘Soldier for life,’ because you’re still part of the team,” Copeland said. “Just because you retired doesn’t mean you left your Army family. This becomes an Army family, and you didn’t leave that family behind. I’m appreciative of everything you all do, and the program gives me comfort knowing that one day I will be that retired Soldier for life, and that there are programs that will take care of me and my family as I transition to whatever I might do post-Army.”