FORT STEWART, Ga. - Happy New Year, team! Welcome back from a successful and safe holiday season. Why did I say successful' As I passed the safety sign at the main gate recently, it broadcasted to me that as of today, we are only 58 days away from achieving 300 days free of accident fatalities - Hence, I know that you all are "on-the-money" when it comes to safety.

There is one other concern that the garrison commander and I would like for you to be "on-the-money" about.

Families and Army Civilians play an increasingly important role in the readiness of our all-volunteer force by providing the support network for our Soldiers. We strive to improve the quality of life for our Soldiers and their Family Members as they continue to make tremendous sacrifices for our nation.

In light of the Army Family's commitment to our Soldiers, we should jump at the opportunity to properly introduce new Families, be it civilian or military, to our community and support systems. When new Families or Soldiers are scheduled to arrive here, this is our time to shine through the Total Army Sponsorship Program. For more than 235 years, the Army has been known as an entity that takes care of its own. We can do that well here with the support of each and every one of you who are already a member of the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield community.

The Total Army Sponsorship Program was established to assist Soldiers, Army Civilians, and Family Members in relocating. Program participants should be supplied with accurate and timely information during the relocation process.

Here at Stewart-Hunter, we are very serious about our sponsorship of new Families. We are so serious that the garrison offers every unit and directorate on the installation classes on sponsorship that covers: programs available via Army Community Services, how to identify prospects in the unit/office to be a sponsor, the requirements needed to provide full sponsorship, and ways to make appropriate referrals to address issues of concern. And those topics are just the basics.

Normally, persons requiring sponsorship should become a member of the Army Sponsorship Program and request sponsors as needed. However, I encourage you to be proactive in regard to new Soldiers, Army Civilians and Families scheduled to arrive in our community. Be the first to reach out.

The Fort Stewart Sponsorship Program requires every Soldier, sergeant through colonel, receiving an assignment to Fort Stewart, be provided a sponsor, if requested. The program also requires every effort be made to provide a pinpoint assignment and facilitate an advance arrival sponsor for all married Soldiers, private to specialist. Reactionary sponsorship should be provided for these Soldiers if full or limited sponsorship cannot be provided. Also, units should provide sponsorship for single Soldiers, private through specialist. Each Soldier requesting a sponsor should receive a Welcome Letter from the receiving unit/agency, which should indicate projected assignment.

All units are required to have a trained primary and alternate point of contact at unit level identified in writing to monitor the Sponsorship Program. POCs are responsible for maintaining a pool of trained sponsors. The Relocation Program Manager at ACS will provide the training. I encourage our directorates to also take an interest in the sponsorship program. Get trained sponsorship managers on board and contact ACS to schedule training at 912-767-5058 at Stewart or 912-315-6816 at Hunter. For more information on the Army Sponsorship Program, please refer to Army Regulation 600-8-8, The Total Army Sponsorship Program.