By Vickey Mouze, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii Public AffairsJuly 19, 2012
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- When the outgoing garrison commander here relinquishes command to his successor, July 17, he will have spent countless hours ensuring the garrison remains focused on its customers, despite budget decrements.
Customer service has been Col. Douglas Mulbury's top priority during his two-year tenure.
Speaking as a Soldier and not as the garrison commander, he said the garrison's customers -- Soldiers, family members, retirees, Army civilians and folks from other services -- appreciate the garrison's support, which includes providing safe barracks and housing for Soldiers and their families and child care at child development centers.
"My first priority was and remains instilling in everyone in the garrison the importance of customer service and recognizing and reinforcing good customer service," Mulbury said. "That's become especially important as we have decreased our personnel manning within the garrison significantly, as well as some of the financial decrements we've experienced with budget reductions. It's still important that our customers receive the best we can provide in terms of customer service."
Mulbury said one of his goals was to provide the best support to the 18 commands that use garrison resources and to communicate with them in a proactive manner.
"When faced with challenges, such as the budget decrements, we don't make decisions in a vacuum," he said. "We explain the challenges to our supported commands, and we give them recommendations. We get their feedback, and we try to work in close cooperation with them."
Providing support to those commands is the garrison's civilian workforce, a workforce that Mulbury calls "dedicated." He said it's important to recognize and appreciate what they do each and every day and to ensure they are properly trained.
Mulbury said he wants employees to remember why they come to work.
"The garrison's mission is to ensure that our Soldiers can be ready to go to war and that Soldiers and families have a quality of life that they deserve commensurate with their service," he said.
Mulbury said that the USAG-HI garrison commander is "the face of the Army in Hawaii." Inside the gates, for example, he discusses security and housing issues with community members, he conducts employee town hall meetings, and he hosts Facebook town halls. Outside the gates, he meets with Native Hawaiian groups to discuss sensitive cultural and natural resources issues.
A garrison commander's duties -- providing standardized, effective and efficient services, facilities and infrastructure to Soldiers, families and civilians for the Army and nation -- can sound fairly cut-and-dried. That is, until the realization hits that the garrison commander oversees services for 90,000-plus customers on Oahu and the Big Island.
Just maintaining the infrastructure -- such as the 2,287,998 square yards of surfaced roads, including those in training areas -- across the garrison's 22 installations and training areas can be staggering, especially when, all told, USAG-HI offers more than 100,000 acres of training area.
Ensuring the Army is a good steward of that land was another of Mulbury's goals, as was honoring Native Hawaiian cultural and environmental issues.
The two -- land and Native Hawaiian issues -- often become intertwined.
The Native Hawaiian Covenant, signed by leaders of both communities, March 24, 2010, has helped initiate proactive dialogue about these and other issues.
"The Covenant was a huge step -- it was two years in the making -- but really what I'm focused on now is actionable, tangible things we have done to make the covenant a living, breathing document," Mulbury said. "There's a lot of things that we've done, and I feel very good where we are right now; it'll be incredibly important in the future."