By Pvt. Jamal WalkerMarch 8, 2010
RED CLOUD GARRISON - Soldiers and Korean Augmentation to the United States Army members gathered to speak about their issues within Area I during the quarterly Soldier Focus Group Feb. 24 in the USAG-RC building 57.
Mandi Lovasz, Red Cloud Garrison Customer Service officer, sought the Soldiers and KATUSAs designated to represent their unit for the group prior to the conference being held. Lovasz then spoke with the Soldiers and KATUSAs about what to expect during the focus group and how they might be able to prepare for the conference a few days in advance. Lovasz suggested the representatives begin to talk to other people around post and in their unit to find their concerns within Area I.
Soldiers and KATUSAs went to work on the issues to brief the chain of command about the issues they would like the chain of command to hear.
"I think the focus group is a positive thing," said Spc. Joe Shin, Headquarters Support Company Division Special Troops Battalion driver. "I am sure there are more issues than the ones we talked about today, but I think that Soldiers need to speak up in order to have problems solved. They need their voice to be heard and I think this group is doing that specific job."
After the Soldiers prepared the issues for the chain of command to hear, Sgt. Deni Azeredo, Headquarters and Headquarters Company Red Cloud Garrison transportation management coordinator, was elected by the group to brief Richard Davis, Red Cloud Garrison deputy commander, about the issues from the focus group.
"It helps being able to look at someone face to face and just say, 'this is an issue that is affecting me and affecting other people, and this is what we would like to see done about it,' because it puts an emphasis on what is important to the Soldiers," Lovasz said.
The first issue presented to Davis was the lack of qualified barbers, long lines, and communication barriers between customers and barbers at the two garrison barbershops. The Soldiers explained to Davis how some of the barbers have a difficult time speaking English to the Soldiers, and how they do not feel the barbers are experienced cutting Soldiers hair in accordance with the military haircut standard. The Soldiers felt issues like these affects the morale and pride of American and Korean customers on Red Cloud Garrison. The Soldiers recommended hiring only certified barbers.
The second issue Soldiers brought up was the quality of produce at the 2nd Infantry Division's Commanding General's Mess and the Kilbourne Dining Facility. They said it is not fresh, and is often not restocked when it runs out. Also, the hours are frequently changed without notification based on the 2ID and USAG holiday schedules. The Soldiers recommendations were to have more fresh fruits and vegetables provided, restock items when they expire or run out and clearly post the hours of operation, and any changes to the normal hours at least three days in advance.
"We appreciate your honesty and your input and now it is up to us to provide feedback, and get our folks briefed about these issues and consider them," Davis said.