'Blue lines' make post more friendly to visitors

By Gerald Henderson, Fort Jackson Deputy Chief of StaffOctober 18, 2012

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- You have probably noticed that several of our roads now feature a freshly painted blue line. Many have speculated why the line exists and where it ends. Just as Dorothy had her yellow brick road and Hansel and Gretel had their trail of bread crumbs, visitors to Fort Jackson now have their "blue line."

Whether you enter the installation through gates 1, 2 or 4, if your destination is Hilton Field, it's as simple as following that very prominent blue line.

No more U-turns, map checks or stopping for directions. Now, about 8,000 visitors per week and 120,000 annually will enter the gates and hear, "Welcome to Fort Jackson. If you are going to Hilton Field, follow the blue line. Victory starts here!"

The line was masterminded by Fort Jackson's chief of staff, Col. Ken Royalty. Royalty pursued the notion after visiting Fort Benning, Ga., in an effort to identify ideas on how to improve Fort Jackson's Basic Combat Training graduation activities.

"We have to take a look at ourselves through the eyes of others, particularly those who are experiencing the Army and Fort Jackson for the first time," said Royalty, who is on his second tour of service here. "Our goal is to make a positive and lasting impression while at the same time take away the stress and anxiety of a family that has driven hours to celebrate seeing a son or daughter become a Soldier in the United States Army."

Royalty added that the line itself is just one of many ideas associated with making the post more friendly and appealing to those visiting and attending graduations or special events at Hilton Field. He said that there is a collective focus and sense of urgency within all commands to change the visual image of the installation.

"This effort is being driven by a team of teams, all cooperating, all sharing their talents and ideas and all realizing that there is no magic to bettering ourselves," he said. "It's pride, ownership and every person dedicated to our vision -- being the preeminent training center within the Department of Defense. We know we are the biggest. We want to be the biggest and the best."