FORT BUCHANAN, PUERTO RICO- After a busy 2023, in which Fort Buchanan has continued serving as a readiness platform for military units in the Caribbean, enabling the deployment of service members to different parts of the world, the only U.S. Army installation in the Caribbean prepares for greater efforts in 2024.
During a recent interview with El Vocero, one of the leading newspapers in Puerto Rico, Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander, stated that he is focused on providing better services and quality of life to the nearly 15,000 service members on the Island.
"2023 has been an amazing year of collaboration at Fort Buchanan, better described by a "be all you can be" attitude. We set out to do many things this year, and really, what we do is unite them with our lines of effort… the preparation and training to carry out our missions and our functions in a war environment. Then there would be the transformation and modernization," explained the commander, who also highlighted the importance of the education provided to 1,200 school-age students through the Department of Defense Education activity.
"It is just incredible when you think that children are the foundation, the spirit, and
the energy of any community. Fort Buchanan has not been an exception to that in 2023," Moulton added.
Moulton also highlighted the success that the U.S. Army had in Puerto Rico in recruiting both Soldiers and civilians. In 2023, 1,050 U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico joined the United States Army. Fort Buchanan and tenant units also hired dozens of new civilian federal employees.
"The good thing about Puerto Rico is that it has a population with a lot of volunteer spirit and legacy," said Moulton, who indicated that the Island provides a lot of recruits for the U.S. Army compared to other states in the nation.
According to the installation commander, Fort Buchanan remains committed to improving its infrastructure. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Antilles Area Office will continue to build at Fort Buchanan, a family housing complex composed of 26 military housing units, which are expected to be ready in late summer or early fall. The investment was close to $32 million.
"This year, we will also do the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a modern Army Reserve Center that will accommodate 1,400 soldiers in 17 units at an approximate cost of $29 million, enabling their ability to train. My vision for Fort Buchanan is to be a sustainable, resilient, and modern facility," said Moulton.
According to the Army officer, the installation will continue with green energy projects while continuing with the design phase of a microgrid for $52 million, providing greater energy resilience to Fort Buchanan.
Fort Buchanan also plans to continue using water harvesting units. Now, there are 18 units in use. "We have installed five new rainwater harvesting units, with the capacity to process 36,000 additional gallons of water," the commander added.
Times of War
As the only U.S. Army installation in the Caribbean, the question of possible mobilizations is always present in the local community. Moulton addressed those concerns.
"We do not know how any war or conflict will play out; what I can tell you is that here at Fort Buchanan, we will provide the best service possible to ensure that service members are ready to fight when called upon and their families are supported while they are away," he expressed.
Fort Buchanan is the Army's home in the Caribbean and is critical in enhancing our warfighters, their families' readiness, and quality of life. The installation serves a diverse military community of Reserve and National Guard units, the Marine Corps Reserve, and the Navy Operational Support Center.