FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- For a new team member on post, it doesn't take very long to notice the chemistry between Fort Jackson and our neighboring communities and the great relationship we enjoy. I think I figured that out in the first couple of minutes after arriving here. Fort Jackson and its surrounding communities know how to harmonize.

Nearly every week an event takes place that exemplifies and further strengthens the tight-knit community spirit. This past week, we hosted a top cop competition, which invited police officers from Richland and Lexington counties as well as the City of Columbia, to participate in a law enforcement officer competition alongside their military counterparts.

This coming weekend, a few thousand of our Soldiers will pack the stands of Capital City Stadium and take in a baseball game as the guests of Fort Jackson Military Appreciation Night. This is the fifth year in a row our Soldiers have been treated to a Columbia Blowfish game. This is another great opportunity for our Soldiers to interact with the community and fans and enjoy one of the many activities our communities have to offer.

The following weekend, we will hold the Army Ball in the heart of Columbia at the Metropolitan Convention Center. The June 16 ball is part of our Army Birthday celebration events.

It is open to everyone -- military, civilian employees, Families and members of the community -- YOU!

We will be marking 237 years of the United States Army's existence and celebrating alongside our neighbors. It doesn't get much better than that -- HOOAH!

When military installations and their nearby communities have a strong and powerful relationship, such as the one we enjoy here, only positive things grow from it. The type of hospitality found here stems from the residual effect of thousands of Soldiers and Families who choose to make their homes in the local area and actively participate in schools, churches and civic organizations.

Many of our Soldier-students also volunteer their time and energy to many of the city's charitable activities. Many former Fort Jackson Soldiers liked it here so much they stayed -- or returned here --after they retired. The mutually beneficial relationship between the post and the city has grown stronger over time and will continue! This is exactly what our leaders were envisioning when the Armywide commitment of the Community Covenant was forged in 2008. The intent was to foster effective state and local partnerships to improve the quality of life for military members and their Families.

The strong ties that exist between us and our surrounding communities epitomize that objective and we all benefit from them. As long as I am in command here,I can assure you that Fort Jackson will continue to build on the relationship between the post and surrounding communities.

We are all members of "Team Jackson."

I want to emphasize that this is not a one-way street. Our gates are always open to our neighbors. Reach out to them -- invite them to learn more about what their Army is doing at Fort Jackson. They can do so by participating in one of our tours, attending a graduation and observing our Soldiers in training. We have a lot to share, and we always welcome the opportunity to tell our Army story and show that "Victory Starts Here!"

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