Welcome to the first installment of the Garrison Commander's weekly column, which I have decided to call "Did you know'"

As your garrison commander, it is my duty and responsibility to keep the Fort Sill community informed about a variety of issues.

With that mission in mind, we have a number of venues in which we communicate with our community, our Soldiers, family members, Department of the Army civilians, our Non-Appropriated Fund civilians, our contractors, retirees, Army & Air Force Exchange Service and commissary employees and a myriad of others who live, work and access Fort Sill.

Sill Facts meeting
We host a monthly meeting called "Sill Facts" in which we invite unit Family Readiness Group leaders, senior spouses and unit commanders to hear about what is happening on post each first Tuesday of the month, 10 a.m. at the Patriot Club.

I have each of my garrison directors there, as well as representatives from AAFES, the commissary, Red Cross, Reynolds Army Community Hospital and our housing partner, Picerne. There could also be an occasional special guest if a subject warrants.

Town Hall
Another venue the garrison has is our quarterly live Town Hall Meeting. As mentioned, we try and conduct a live TV call-in show which airs on our post cable channel 8 and downtown on the community TV channel 5.

This is normally a one and a half hour program where I take call-in and Internet questions and try to provide the community the most recent information on whatever topic the caller or Internet writer wants to hear about.

Our next TV Town Hall is Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. We hope, in addition to live call-in and submitting questions via e-mail, we will have a live Internet feed so you can participate from your home or office computer.

State of the garrison
For our garrison employees, I hold semiannual events called, "The State of the Garrison," in which I provide an update to our Garrison Team on what is happening at Fort Sill, my vision for the future, short and long term priorities and a host of other subjects.

A video of this event from the Sept. 4 iteration I conduct multiple iterations in order to allow all Garrison employees to attend can be accessed from a link on the Fort Sill Intranet site right at the top center.

I also have non-voting seats on the Lawton City Council and the Lawton Public School Board of Education where I represent Fort Sill and provide both of these organizations the Fort Sill perspective and act as an advocate for all members of our Fort Sill community.

Did you know'
So as stated upfront, my mission is to keep you informed.

In the spirit of the title of this weekly column, I'd like to give you some short facts about the post you may not know.

Some of these facts will be explored in more depth in future columns.

- For instance, did you know of the five installations in the United Sates where Basic Combat Training is conducted, Fort Sill has the second largest number of BCT graduates, graduating more than 16,000 BCT Soldiers last year'
- Did you know Fort Sill just privatized our lodging facilities on the installation, one of only 10 Army posts selected to transition to Privatized Army Lodging in the first wave of transitions'
- Did you know Fort Sill has deployed more than 64,000 active and Reserve Soldiers since Sept. 11, 2001'
- Did you know that both financial institutions residing here, Fort Sill National Bank and Fort Sill Federal Credit Union, won Bank and Credit Union of the Year from the Army'
- That's the first time in recent memory that both a bank and credit union on the same installation won the award in the same year. These awards have been won multiple times by each institution but this is the first time they've won it together.
- Did you know we are about to open our second Child Development Center Oct. 13' That's a 124-child facility. In the summer of 2010, we will open a third CDC, a 232-child facility which, when opened, will increase our current capacity by 150 percent.
- Did you know that AAFES has a plan to open a new shoppette along Sheridan Road, in the vicinity of Constitution Park, in the summer of 2010' That facility will have a shoppette, gas station and a number of food vendors. AAFES also plans on expanding the current Sheridan Road Shoppette, doubling the square footage and they will build a new dual-food Burger King and Church's Chicken opening in the summer of 2012.

So, in future weekly columns, I plan on exploring more deeply what's happening on Fort Sill in order to get to the point when you are asked, Did you know' You will be able to say, "Yes, I did."

I also hope that you will send me questions on subjects you want to know more about. I promise to get you an answer, either in this column or directly.

In closing, my experiences have shown me those communities that people want to live in are those where people are informed and are engaged.

I hope everyone who lives and works at Fort Sill considers it their community and becomes engaged in making it better in whatever way you choose to.

Whether it's as a volunteer or by attending one of our many FMWR events or by just telling your friends of all the great stuff happening on post, take ownership of your post.

I promise I'll do my best to keep you informed and, together we can continue to make Fort Sill a great place to live and work.

To reach me
To send questions or comments to me, please e-mail cannoneersill@conus. army.mil or you can mail your comments to:
Commander, USAG-Fort Sill, 462 Hamilton Road, Suite 120, Fort Sill, OK 73503.

Thanks and have a great Fort Sill day.