By Mr. Kevin B Jackson (IMCOM)October 20, 2010
RED CLOUD GARRISON - Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker is set on changing the educational culture in Warrior Country and he's offering Wi-Fi in dining facilities as an incentive to encourage his Soldiers to invest in themselves.
Wi-Fi became operational in Warrior Country dining facilities Oct. 1 to support Warrior University - an on-duty hours educational program - by making it easier for Soldiers to achieve their educational goals.
Warrior University - sometimes referred to as "Degree at Three" - isn't an institution with walls and degree programs. It's a command-sponsored program that excuses Soldiers from their regular military duties from 3-6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, to attend class in an education center or online from an accredited institution.
Lt. Col. Ki Young Pak, chief of resource management for the 2nd Inf. Div., said the division is providing Wi-Fi in the DFAC to give Soldiers a comfortable place to study so more of them will pursue higher education.
He said it was necessary for the division to create a "military style Starbucks" where Soldiers can have drinks in a quiet environment conducive to study late into the evening. Pak sees potential for the initiative beyond Warrior Country. Division officials continue to work with Red Cloud Garrison to determine the possibility of extending DFAC hours beyond normal meal hours and whether food and drinks can be made available to Soldiers.
"It's not just a place to eat and I think that adds a lot of value for the Army as an institution," Pak said.
Effective Oct. 1, free Wi-Fi services went online in the Crusader Restaurant, Iron Horse and Thunder Inn on Casey Garrison and in Kilbourne Hall and the Commanding General's Mess on Red Cloud Garrison. It is also on Camp Hovey in the Sports CafAfA and Thunder Inn, and in the K-16 Mess. It will also be installed in the Camp Stanley DFAC in the near future.
Tucker is a strong advocate of higher education. He points to the Army education program, which helped him obtain a bachelor's degree and two masters' degree, for helping him advance through the ranks from private to major general.
"No two roads follow the same exact path, but I can guarantee an education will improve your prospects across the board, and increase your options, regardless of your life goals," the general said in a commentary about Warrior University posted to the U.S. Forces Korea Web site shortly after the program launched Jan. 19, 2010.
To show that Soldiers believe in the value of education, Pak said more than 600 troops from the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team who are taking classes.
In the article, "Yes, college is worth the price of admission," published in USA Today Sept. 27, Barry Glassner, author and president-elect of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., said that higher education remains "the most rewarding investment" a person can make in their life.
Tucker is counting on it to pay dividends for the division and his Soldiers, who are the Army's future leaders.
"I'm excited about increasing the opportunity for our Soldiers and Families to pursue their personal and professional education goals, which will allow them to remain Second to None," the general said in an e-mail to division and garrison leaders about the new free Wi-Fi service Oct. 2.
Pak said the division is always looking for good ideas and that many of them like the Wi-Fi initiative came from within its ranks.
"I don't know who was actually behind this idea," he said, "but I want to thank that Soldier."