Garrison Command Sergeant Major
Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem

With Halloween drawing near and the arrival of the holiday season, now is the time for preparing to spend quality moments with Family, friends and loved ones.

This year has been eventful. As a whole, the Army has dealt with continued deployments, the debate over the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, changes of military leadership in Afghanistan and loss of life due to combat operations and Soldier suicides.

On Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem, we have dealt with increased BRAC operations, the resulting search for jobs for a number of Civilian employees, accidental fires and the loss of a fellow Soldier due to workplace violence. However, despite the toll these issues and tragedies have taken on military personnel worldwide and locally, our Families have always stood strong to help us weather the storm.

Indeed, it is only with their help that we in Installation Management Command (IMCOM) can work to achieve IMCOM's vision of "supporting organizations' mission accomplishment and materially enhancing Soldier and Family well being and readiness."

So, for this holiday season, I am calling on every member of the Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem community to make Family a top priority.

This starts at the top with supervisors, who I challenge to make sure their Soldiers and Civilian employees are provided with as many opportunities as possible to spend time with loved ones.

My challenge also extends to NCOs and team leaders, who I ask to take the lead in ensuring their team members are knowledgeable in the different areas of safety when spending that Family time, including fire prevention, energy consumption, defensive driving, alcohol and drug awareness and suicide prevention.

We must work as a team to make sure that Family time is fun - and safe. To all other servicemembers and Civilian employees, I challenge you to be as dedicated and creative in your use of Family time as you are at achieving IMCOM and Army goals.

I also encourage everyone to speak up if they have any concerns or issues about Family time opportunities.

Families and loved ones are our most precious resource as military personnel; don't be afraid to stand up for your right to care for and spend time with them.

Together, we will work to make our Families the priorities they should be. Hooah!

(Next month, Command Sgt. Maj. Roberts will answer questions from members of Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem. If you have a question you would like to ask the command sergeant major, send an e-mail message with the subject line "CSM Question" to "The Sentinel" at mcpherson_sentinel@ conus.army.mil. Submitted questions should be relevant to the Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem community as a whole.)