By Jim Hinnant, U.S. Army Forces Command Public AffairsJuly 1, 2010
FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (July 1, 2010) -- Planners and leaders from U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command met here June 24 to coordinate the next milestone in Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC relocation of the two commands to Fort Bragg, N.C.
That milestone - the departure of the "Torch Party" to Fort Bragg - is rapidly approaching, so it was necessary to make final coordination to match faces to spaces at the destination and to discuss other operational details, officials said.
Nearly 120 members from the two headquarters will occupy temporary offices in the Old Bowley School complex at Fort Bragg to pave the way for the October arrival of the Advance Echelon, or ADVON, and the 2011 main body arrival of Soldiers, Army civilians and defense contractors.
FORSCOM and USARC must complete the relocation of their current, separate headquarters locations at Fort McPherson, Ga., to a single, shared facility at Fort Bragg, during the next 15 months in order to comply with the law that was enacted in 2005.
Once at Fort Bragg, each command will continue to operate independent of the other despite sharing a common headquarters facility, officials said.
"This was a very important session, because it was more than simply passing along information. It was about making sure everyone was on the same page, regarding moving the Torch Party into Old Bowley School," said Melissa Barnes, a contract data base administrator responsible for space management in the new complex at Fort Bragg.
"We will only move folks into the Old Bowley School once, so getting it done right will help ensure a smooth transition," she said.
Barnes, who will put "faces in spaces" at all temporary and permanent FORSCOM/USARC facilities at Fort Bragg, said one of her goals is to minimize downtime, confusion and possible frustration for arriving staff members.
"When a Torch Party member arrives, we want them to be able to go their workstation, plug their Common Access Card into their computer and get right to work," said Barnes.
Other key points were discussed during the session, including video-teleconferencing capabilities, secure communications capabilities and representation from various staff sections.
FORSCOM's team at Fort Bragg will be led by Ronna Garrett, currently the command's human resources director, as the officer-in-charge. The FORSCOM senior enlisted advisor at Fort Bragg for the forward element will be Sgt. Maj. Joseph C. Harris, FORSCOM's G2 sergeant major.
Other FORSCOM staff elements will be represented to ensure proper reception and staging of incoming Soldiers, Army civilians and contractors, said Garrett.
"It's vital that our relocating team members arrive, are welcomed properly and get at the task of laying the groundwork for the movement of the rest of our headquarters," Garrett said. "Today's discussions identified, in terms of staffing, potential gaps in our plan, and now we can close those gaps, ensuring a seamless transition for everyone."
Departure Ceremony set
A departure ceremony for the Torch Party is scheduled July 13 at 2 p.m. at the FORSCOM headquarters at Fort McPherson. Hosted by FORSCOM's chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Jeffery W. Hammond, the event will mark this critical milestone in the relocation's complex timeline. Each of the FORSCOM staff members who will leave with the Torch Party will be recognized during the ceremony. In addition, Greg Taylor, director of the North Carolina-based BRAC Regional Task Force, will be the featured speaker at the event.