USAG Japan leaders say workforce efforts reason why Japan is Army’s top duty station

By Sean Kimmons, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsMay 29, 2024

Col. Marcus Hunter, center, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, speaks during a workforce town hall at Camp Zama, Japan, May 24, 2024. Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, left, garrison senior enlisted leader, and Jenifer L. Peterson, right, deputy garrison commander, joined Hunter for the meeting at Kizuna Hall as they all answered questions from the audience.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Marcus Hunter, center, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, speaks during a workforce town hall at Camp Zama, Japan, May 24, 2024. Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, left, garrison senior enlisted leader, and Jenifer L. Peterson, right, deputy garrison commander, joined Hunter for the meeting at Kizuna Hall as they all answered questions from the audience. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Col. Marcus Hunter, right, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, speaks during a workforce town hall at Camp Zama, Japan, May 24, 2024. Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, left, garrison senior enlisted leader, and Jenifer L. Peterson, deputy garrison commander, joined Hunter for the meeting at Kizuna Hall as they all answered questions from the audience.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Marcus Hunter, right, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, speaks during a workforce town hall at Camp Zama, Japan, May 24, 2024. Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, left, garrison senior enlisted leader, and Jenifer L. Peterson, deputy garrison commander, joined Hunter for the meeting at Kizuna Hall as they all answered questions from the audience. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, senior enlisted leader of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, answers a question during a workforce town hall at Camp Zama, Japan, May 24, 2024. Col. Marcus Hunter, garrison commander, and Jenifer L. Peterson, deputy garrison commander, also participated in the meeting at Kizuna Hall.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, senior enlisted leader of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, answers a question during a workforce town hall at Camp Zama, Japan, May 24, 2024. Col. Marcus Hunter, garrison commander, and Jenifer L. Peterson, deputy garrison commander, also participated in the meeting at Kizuna Hall. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The U.S. Army Garrison Japan commander said he appreciated the workforce’s contributions so far this year during a town hall here Friday as the garrison prepares for the peak moving season this summer.

“I want to extend my thanks,” said Col. Marcus Hunter as he began the meeting at Kizuna Hall. “I truly want to thank you for the extra effort, the sacrifice and the service that you provide because it is literally the best.”

Hunter, who was joined by Command Sgt. Maj. David A. Rio, garrison senior enlisted leader, and Jenifer L. Peterson, deputy garrison commander, said a smooth transition for incoming personnel will rely on the small things that employees have been doing well.

“It will be a very busy season for us,” he said, “but it is extremely important and will make a greater impact on those people and families that are coming.”

The colonel also mentioned that Japan is currently the U.S. Army’s top requested duty station.

He credited three things for the community receiving that honor. While the location and friendly Japanese people are a draw for many, he also believed the Army’s unique mission here and the garrison’s service culture allows people to enjoy their time in the country.

“A lot of times you say that, ‘Oh, we’re No. 1 because it feels like we’re No. 1,’” he said. “But we actually have the data to prove that – that’s a statistical fact.”

Rio said the garrison team also scored 98% in its most recent inspection as part of the Organizational Inspection Program, a mandatory command program that identifies, prevents and corrects issues affecting unit readiness.

“It’s because of things like that,” he said, as to why Japan is a popular location. “It’s because of your care, your commitment and the quality services you provide.”

Rio announced a garrison organizational day will take place Sept. 27 to provide fun, food and activities to staff members and their families.

The garrison’s Quality of Life Action Team is planning the event, and the organization is still recruiting new members to help drive continuous workplace improvement across the garrison.

Membership is open to anyone, including military members, civilians and local national employees.

“We’re always recruiting new members of this team,” Rio said. “Our goal is to have representatives from each of the directorates who serve as the link for our workforce to this team.”

Peterson also congratulated employees who recently graduated from the Army Civilian Education System Intermediate Course that was held for the first time at Camp Zama earlier this month.

She said course facilitators plan to return next year and encouraged employees to speak with the graduates to learn more about the course.

“I am really impressed with how many folks we had this year,” she said. “We had almost 20 attend and we want to have more next year.”

Hunter later recognized garrison employees for continually overcoming challenges, from being able to finish complex projects with teammates that may have different ideas to tackling major events.

One of those events, he said, was a scheduled power outage that had Directorate of Public Works employees working through the night to ensure backup power systems could operate.

“Thank you for facing those challenges and every day trying to make a positive impact and get better,” he said. “Sometimes we mess it up, even I make mistakes, but then we come back, and we try to improve.

“I could not be prouder of our team and everything that you do for our community,” he added, “so thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Related links:

U.S. Army Garrison Japan news

USAG Japan official website