By Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs OfficeNovember 13, 2007
Nov. 6, 2007 - Families are the backbone of the Army and Carlisle Barracks took time Nov. 6 to honor the dedication of family members and stress the important role they play in today's military.
In Bliss Hall, Carlisle Barracks and Army War College leadership signed an Army Family Covenant, and pledged to support Soldiers' Families while they defend the nation.
At Carlisle Barracks, the most visible sign of the commitment to families is the new housing being constructed as part of the Residential Communities Initiative.
"If there is one thing Families in Carlisle Barracks agree it's the desperate need for new housing," said Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson, garrison commander. "A 50-year old home and all the associated maintenance and space related problems place a damper on an otherwise great place to live and work. But if you stand anywhere in Carlisle Barracks today you can see a $50 million solution to that problem."
Dickerson went on to tell the families the plans for the future of the project.
"Over the next four years the Carlisle Community will be in full development, we have completed 12 apartments at Young Hall and the remaining 14 will be complete by this summer. Also, along Claremont Road, 46 units will be completed at 'The Meadows' housing area. In addition a 6000 Sq Ft Delaney Clubhouse also to be completed this summer," he said. "Marshall Ridge Phase I is being built northeast of the Bowling Center and will be complete next Fall. College Arms will become Heritage Heights, demolition will begin this summer and new construction will begin in FY09 and complete in FY 11."
He did point out that new housing weren't the only improved benefits.
"We have improved existing programs through significant investments in Morale Welfare and Recreation, to include modernizing our Bowling Center, competing for and receiving a new 15,000 sq ft Youth Center in FY09 to compliment our very popular youth programs and services." He also pointed out that the Child Development Center has increased their hourly care to create more flexibility for Soldiers and their families.
Family members in attendance said they enjoyed hearing what was being done on their behalf.
"I can't believe they did this for us," said Kathleen Monagle, a Facilitating, Leadership, and Group Skills trainer and U.S. Army War College student spouse.
During the ceremony, Dickerson, Col. Tom Torrance, deputy commandant and Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Houston signed the covenant in the presence of various post family groups.
Dickerson closed the ceremony promising to continue to take care of and thanking the families for all that they have done and will continue to do.
"Carlisle Barracks is poised to provide direct impact to Soldiers and Families, for they are the community pillars that make us matter. We stand committed to the success of the Army Family Covenant."
Army Family Covenant Background
The Army recognizes the challenge, listens to Families and is taking action. Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, Jr., and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston signed a covenant with Army Families. This Army Family Covenant recognizes the commitment, sacrifices and contribution to readiness our Families make every day. Over the next few weeks covenant signing ceremonies will occur at every Army installation worldwide.
The Army Family Covenant commits the Army to provide Families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive. The words of the covenant are a pledge to ensure our families remain strong, so our Soldiers remain strong:
A,A* We recognize: The commitment and increasing sacrifices that our Families are making every day.
A,A* We recognize: The strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their Families.
A,A* We are committed to: Providing Soldiers and Families a Quality of Life that is commensurate with their service.
A,A* We are committed to: Providing our Families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive.
A,A* We are committed to: Building a partnership with Army Families that enhances their strength and resilience.
We are committed to improving Family readiness by:
Standardizing and funding existing Family programs and services;
Increasing accessibility and quality of health care;
Improving Soldier and Family housing;
Ensuring excellence in schools, youth services, and child care;
Expanding education and employment opportunities for Family members
The covenant represents a $1.4 billion commitment in 2008 to improve Army Family quality of life, with the Army's leadership working to ensure similar funding over the next five years.
The covenant also means improved housing for Army Families. As we speak, Carlisle Barracks is getting a face-lift in the form of family housing and the Delany Field Clubhouse. When America's families offer their sons and daughters to the nation, these Soldiers deserve only the best quality of life as a return on that investment. And the Army Family Covenant is a commitment to do just that.