SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — The Honorable Christine E. Wormuth, 25th Secretary of the Army, visited Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Jan. 24, to meet with senior leaders and host a town hall to address questions and concerns from Soldiers, Families and Army civilians.
The town hall, held at Sgt. Smith Theater on Schofield Barracks, was livestreamed through the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii and 25th Infantry Division social media platforms. People viewing the livestream asked questions virtually, and Wormuth and U.S. Army Hawaii senior leadership answered those along with questions from the in-person audience.
Improved quality of life was among the top areas of discussion during her visit which included the way forward for improving living environment within the barracks.
“One of the reasons I am out here is to specifically focus on looking at infrastructure in Hawaii,” said Wormuth, during her opening remarks at the town hall.
During the visit, she toured several barracks rooms on the installation, some of which are in need of major renovations due to a variety of issues.
“The Army is spending about a billion dollars a year on new barracks, and we're going to be doing at least that for the next 10 years…” said Wormuth. “That is really, really important. I am looking at that with Gen. McConville to see whether we need to increase that annual investment into barracks, and if so, how we could do that.”
Wormuth also discussed upcoming barracks inspections across all Army installations, ordered by Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. The order will identify unsafe living conditions in all Army barracks so that leaders can prioritize resources to fix the problems.
Besides hosting the town hall, the Secretary of the Army also took time to have lunch with Soldiers from across the 25th Infantry Division footprint. Wormuth asked the Soldiers why they joined the Army, and discussed new recruiting initiatives and fielded their ideas for recruitment incentives.
She spoke about the Soldier Referral Program, a pilot that was “driven by Soldier’s suggestions” which will allow Soldiers to become eligible for promotion points and advanced promotions if they refer applicants that successfully enlist. “We are excited about that program.” replied Wormuth, to a question about the pilot. “We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of excitement that generates and if it helps increase our recruitment numbers.”
Wormuth received an abundance of feedback from Soldiers, Family members, and Department of the Army civilians during her visit, which she plans to take back to Washington.
“There is this sense that the leadership is just this anonymous entity out there that doesn't care and doesn't understand what you are dealing with…” said Wormuth. “What I want to assure you is that we do care.”