KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz welcomed its newest employees with a Team Member Orientation (TMO) on Feb. 15-16.
The U.S. Army Installation Management Command Team Member Orientation program, which was put on hold for over 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, was revitalized in September 2021 with significant improvements to make sure participants get the most out of it. Since then, more than 400 employees have benefitted from the program.
“Our acculturation program is recognized as a ‘best practice’ for IMCOM, and especially for the European Theatre,” said Dr. Richard Calnon, USAG-Rheinland-Pfalz Human Resources director.
The program itself is modeled after other successful new employee orientation programs like those offered to newcomers at USAG Hawaii, USAG Stuttgart, and IMCOM Headquarters.
“We identified what worked well for others and then shaped our own TMO program focused on Rheinland-Pfalzs’ unique installations and geographical dispersion,” Calnon added.
Rheinland-Pfalz’s TMO is designed to help new employees understand the overall garrison mission and its organizational structure by providing an overview of each directorate and staff agency and describing how their missions are nested into and compliment the garrison mission.
“The program started off as a standard briefing being conducted in one centralized location with our garrison leadership and directors briefing from power points to our new team members,” said Calnon. “Over time, it has expanded to include a traveling bus tour of our major installations while our directors conduct in-person briefings that showcase their mission and responsibilities to our new team members at the location where they actually work.”
The two-day TMO starts with a command overview at Rhine Ordnance Barracks (ROB) where Col. Reid Furman, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen J. LaRocque, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz command sergeant major, welcome all the new team members and provide an oversight of the garrison capabilities and various roles supporting the warfighter.
“We want to welcome and orient the new team members to their workplace and surrounding areas. Our garrison footprint is 100 miles-wide and located in 31 sites within 10 cities and towns, not to mention sites in Romania and Bulgaria! We understand that this is a lot to digest for our newcomers and so it’s important for us, the command team, to communicate how important each team member is to the success of this garrison and the readiness of the Army. We want TMO to help team members understand how their work directly impacts our mission as the Army’s premier Strategic Readiness Platform overseas,” said Command Sgt. Maj. LaRocque. “We are grateful that they made the choice to work for USAG Rheinland-Pfalz. Plus, the commander and I love getting the opportunity to meet the new employees face-to-face.”
After the in-brief at ROB, participants get on the bus, following the CSM’s rule – “don’t sit next to someone you already know” – his way of lightheartedly encouraging people to meet other new employees and form connections – and they head to Kleber Kaserne for an introduction to the Directorate of Human Resources (DHR) and the Religious Services Office (RSO) at the Central Processing building.
Then, it’s off to Sembach installation for a briefing with the Directorate of Emergency Services.
The last destination of the morning is Pulaski Barracks in Vogelweh where the new team members receive a welcome from the Directorate of Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR).
After a scheduled lunch break at one of the world-class eateries on Pulaski, the group travels to Baumholder Military Community (BMC) for a bus tour led by Mr. Jae Kim, USAG Rheinland-Pfalz deputy garrison manager, who provides information on Baumholder’s history, its facilities and future plans for growth/modernization (he also throws in some fun-facts and a couple jokes).
The day concludes with a tour of Smith Barracks on Baumholder, where the group receives a briefing from the Directorate of Public Works and the Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security.
On the second day of TMO, new team members meet at Kleber Kaserne for a variety of trainings intended to set the foundation on employee and supervisor expectations, emphasizing that there is always someone to talk to in the garrison – to address any concerns an employee might have.
The participants receive briefings covering Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention Program (SHARP) and the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP)/Suicide Awareness Program.
“Our primary focus on day two is to ensure that all new employees understand all of the prevention, education, and training programs that the garrison offers and how to seek assistance in any of these areas,” said Calnon.
"After arriving last year, I was completely impressed with the time, energy, and detail the leadership team and the members of the Garrison took in welcoming its newly hired civilian employees during TMO. This is my 5th assignment in nearly 13 years as a GS employee and I have never seen any organization take such an interest with its civilian workforce. This truly makes me feel that I'm part of a team that cares about its members and motivates me to do more as a team member within the Garrison," said Ronald Gonzales, EEO Specialist, who joined USAG-RP in July and now briefs the EEO portion of TMO. "I'm proud to be part of this program."
The final portion of the program is an initial Operation Excellence (OPEX)Training, which focuses on customer service, our core garrison mission of serving others.
“Operation Excellence Training is an integral part of the onboarding program, it gives our newest team members an idea of the culture we intend to foster and maintain within this garrison, and the Army,” said Eloy Campos, Training Instructor, Workforce Development Team, DHR/DHMWR. “This is the framework for the way we do business not only with external customers, but with our internal customers, our IMCOM professionals! Our number one and most important asset, our people!”
USAG-RP TMOs are held on the third Wednesday and Thursday of each month. The next TMO is on March 15-16.
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz is the Army’s premier Strategic Readiness Platform overseas in delivering unmatched mobilization and installation support services to enable readiness for a globally responsive Army and providing a safe home for our Total Force community and families.
For more information, please check out: https://home.army.mil/rheinland-pfalz