By Mr. Kevin B Jackson (IMCOM)April 14, 2011
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea - U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and community service providers spent two hours at the theater here April 5 telling the community about how Warrior Country has been transformed into a family friendly environment that rivals Germany.
Since tour normalization was introduced in December 2008, more than $39 million was allocated to turn this once austere family member-restricted area into an environment filled with family facilities, services and programs.
Among the major transformation improvements are the addition of Casey Elementary School, a child development center and school age centers - all a first for Area I - and community activity centers and an education center.
Col. Hank Dodge, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I commander, told the estimated 200 people in attendance that the command teams at Camp Casey and here are always looking for ways to better serve Soldiers, civilians and their families.
"We're eyes wide and ears open trying to figure out ways to make it better," he said in his opening town hall remarks. "We don't profess to have all the answers, but when we get a good answer we'll fix it."
Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division, who spent 22 of his 38 years of service in Germany said Soldiers often compare their overseas assignments to Germany. He said he routinely contrasts Warrior Country to Germany and that the transformation that occurred here is "unbelievable."
"I'm telling you that we're so much like Germany that we're better," he said. "We're better in a lot of ways."
He also praised the Garrison staff for its efforts.
"I am so impressed with the team we have here at U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud because they are can do people," he said. "They want to make it happen and they have your interests at heart."
The town hall also included mention of the new customer service hours at Maude Hall that went into effect March 15. It serves as a one-stop shop for vehicle registration, pass and ID, ration control, ID cards, housing, commercial travel, finance and legal assistance at Camp Casey.
Dodge explained a graph depicting service hours in Area I compared to Yongsan Garrison, Fort Polk, La. and Grafenwoehr, Germany.
"We thought it was a fair analysis and a fair comparison, and as (Tucker) said we're doing a lot better than people realize up here in Area I," he said.
Chris Bradford, chief of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, talked about numerous activities including the first-ever Child, Youth and School Services facility here that will hold a Spring Break Camp beginning April 11. He also mentioned the first-ever auto skills center, which drew applause from the audience.
Jobs continue to be a concern. Daniel Vasquez, acting director of Area I Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, said jobs can be found with the U.S. government, contractors, the Exchange and commissaries. He also told the audience the Army is transitioning from Resumix to USA Staffing.
"We've been using Resumix for probably well over 10 years now so this is a major change," he said. "It's going to change the entire process."
Medical Services as they often are at town halls were another major topic. Lt. Col. Matthew Rice, deputy commander of the 168th Medical Battalion, acknowledged his staffing challenge and thanked the 2nd Inf. Div. for augmenting his staff.
"If we didn't have them, we wouldn't be able to meet half of the primary care demand," he said.
Rice also expressed concern about no-shows and how it affects appointments at the Camp Casey U.S. Army Health Clinic. He said the sustained no-show rate of 11-12 percent between August 2010 and February cost Soldiers and families nearly 1,200 appointments, which he said is equal to closing the clinic for one month.
He encouraged patients to either keep their appointments or cancel them at least 12-24 hours prior.
Other presentations covered the PCS Express - an automated outprocessing system for Soldiers, Casey Elementary School, environmental programs and energy tips, housing, the Exchange and commissaries.
Questions fielded from the audience ran the gamut from a school dress code to recycling to offensive AAFES taxi drivers to a series of medical issues.
A town hall with the same agenda was also held at Camp Casey April 5.