By Franklin FisherOctober 26, 2012
By Franklin Fisher
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- A panel of Warrior Country Soldiers and civilians has asked Area I senior leaders to consider expanding the hours that health clinics, post office, finance and other essential services are open to the community.
Those were among several recommendations made to Warrior Country leaders by this year's Army Family Action Plan conference delegates, which reviewed dozens of suggestions to improve quality-of-life in the Area I community.
The conference was held Oct. 18 -- 19 at the Camp Casey Community Activity Center.
Other issues the conference saw as a high priority were the lack of on-post help with services related to the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, and the lack of sufficient veterinary services for personal pets.
AFAP forums are held annually at Army installations worldwide. They aim to pin down what quality-of-life concerns are seen as the most urgent within military communities. Army leaders then act to resolve the issues to the extent possible.
This year's AFAP panel of 37 delegates -- Soldiers, family members and a retiree -- reviewed a total of 41 suggestions community members submitted. The delegates were formed into three work groups, each with its own category of issues to examine: Family and Medical Support, Family Support and Force Support.
The panel of delegates then formally presented the top five priority issues to senior leaders at an Oct. 19 briefing.
Among senior leaders at the briefing were Brig. Gen. J.B. Burton, the 2nd Infantry Division's deputy commanding general, maneuver, and the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I Commander, Col. John M. Scott.
As the next step in the AFAP process, all 41 issues will now be forwarded to an Area I-level AFAP steering committee headed by Scott, said Su-jin McClintock, the Area I AFAP program manager.
The committee is scheduled to meet Oct. 26 and can hold additional meetings as warranted.
The garrison will aim to resolve as many of the issues as possible with its existing resources.
Those deemed beyond the garrison's resources will be forwarded to a similar panel at the Eighth U.S. Army level.
Any that can't be resolved there can be sent to the Department of the Army for possible action.
"I thought it was a great opportunity to make an impact and help out the community," said Merita Cilvetti, who volunteered to help with the conference's many clerical tasks, including the typing up of reports. She's the wife of Sgt. Rodrigo Cilvetti of Company A, 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment.
"All these things that we need that we don't currently have, there is hope, and it sounded like they're actually going to do something about it," Cilvetti said.
Maj. Lori Clark, a delegate on this year's Family and Medical Support group, said she'd found the
AFAP process to be a valuable means of getting action on the concerns of ordinary members of military communities. Clark is senior physician assistant with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th Fires Brigade.
"I mean the process itself," she said, "that you could bring so many different people together, put their heads together, come up with a solution that's going to be heard by the actual leadership, whether it be garrison or even higher if need be.
"But garrison leadership actually listens," said Clark, "so the community has that voice to the leadership."
The Army Family Action Plan conference reviewed 41 issues submitted by community members and forwarded them to Warrior Country leaders for further review. Below are five issues the delegates saw as highest priority.
FAMILY & MEDICAL SUPPORT
Issue: Lack of availability of veterinary services for personal pets of valid Defense Department ID cardholders.
Recommendation: Provide on-post routine veterinary services at Camp Casey Monday through Friday for personal pets of valid Defense Department ID cardholders; establish 24-hour emergency on-call veterinary service on Camp Casey.
Issue: Limited pharmacy hours at Camp Casey and Camp Red Cloud.
Recommendation: Extend Camp Casey and Camp Red Cloud pharmacy hours Monday through Friday until 6 p.m., remain open through lunch and on Thursday during Sergeants' Time Training (STT); open the Camp Casey and Camp Red Cloud pharmacies on training holidays.
Issue: Absence of on-post Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) services for Defense Department civilians and military dependents in Area I.
Recommendation: Require an Immigration Officer to provide on-post SOFA stamp services at least once a month to Defense Department civilians and military dependents in Area I.
Issue: Inefficient Camp Casey shuttle bus routes (Gate 2, Camp Hovey, H3221) schedule for authorized passengers.
Recommendation: Enforce bus frequency in accordance with the published schedule and audit efficiencies and quality of service by a representative from the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office.
Issue: Non-availablity of essential services in Area I during Sergeants' Time Training for family members, civilians and Soldiers.
Recommendation: Ensure availability of essential services at Area I troop medical clinics, Self Help, Finance and Post Office, for family members, civilians and Soldiers, in accordance with 8th Army Command Policy Letter 13 -- Sergeants' Time Training and Individual Soldier Time.