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Archive for the ‘Family Readiness’ Category

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

May 8th, 2009

I would not be where I am today without my best friend, my bride of 35 years, the mother of my children – my lovely wife, Paula.

Today marks Military Spouse Appreciation Day. It is so great to see the renewed appreciation that military spouses are getting, with the First Lady’s focus on military families, and with the Army’s commitment to the Army Family Covenant and Community Covenant, which recognize the remarkable commitment and increasing sacrifices our families make every day. I can tell you personally, that Paula has been unbelievably supportive during dozens of moves, deployments, long work hours and many trips that take me away for days on end.

Paula is one of thousands of men and women who deserve our appreciation today, and every day.  The fact that they are Family Strong, makes it possible for those of us in uniform to be Army Strong.

And here at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers specifically, we have many employees who are military spouses, as well as many husbands and wives of civilians who experience first hand the challenges of military life, as so many of our civilians have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan in support of the rebuilding efforts.

So I would just like to say thank you to the unsung heroes of our military – the spouses – who truly are deserving of our admiration today and every day.

I know this is a subject near and dear to many of your hearts, and many of you will likely want to post a comment. Unfortunately, our ‘comments’ link is currently broken – but my IT gurus assure me that a fix is in the works, so please check back, because I would love to hear what you have to say.

Family Readiness, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , ,

USACE Around the World Part 3 – New York City

March 18th, 2008
Guest Blog by MG Bo Temple
 
(Original Posted March 18, 2008)
Well, I put on my traveling boots again, this time for a much shorter trip to Fort Drum, N.Y. It was ironic to me that the weather in New York was colder than in Alaska a week earlier!
 
As I drove around the installation, I saw new facilities being constructed around every corner. Over the next few years, we’ll be working hard to build facilities to support the addition of three brigade combat teams. Before those units can come to Fort Drum, we have to build new headquarters, barracks, housing, child development centers, and various other support facilities.
This is one of the many facilities under construction in NY.

This is one of the many facilities under construction in NY.

This enormous boom in construction is being skillfully handled by a program manager named Ed, and his highly motivated team. One of the best parts of my job is meeting members of our team – I really enjoyed visiting with all of the folks at Fort Drum, like Jerry, one of our team leaders. We all have important jobs to do in support of our nation’s defense – I was reminded of this when I met a program analyst named Cheryl who has been working very hard over the past year to support the Soldiers on the installation while her husband was bravely serving in Iraq.
On my visit I also toured a Child Development Center that is under construction.  I met the project engineer team leader Brett, the building contractor, and, I was surprised to meet the customer, Becky. In fact, it was Becky, who serves as the operational specialist for child development, who walked me through the site pointing out the features of the building.  It was interesting to see the relationship that the area office had fostered between her and the contractor to ensure the finished project will be what the customer needs. I can tell that our children are in good hands.
I later toured a storage and maintenance facility for the fleet of snow removal equipment at the Wheeler Sack Army Airfield.  The project engineer Dick, also known as “Rambo-Tool Man”, had helped deliver a high quality facility on time and below the programmed amount. The customer had moved into the facility only days before my visit, and they were very pleased by the final product.
Throughout my travels I saw a number of successful projects and met a number of outstanding people.  For every name I mentioned above (or in the other two blog posts), there are dozens of others whose hard work and dedication are critical to providing the quality of facilities we are delivering today. I was amazed by the number of projects that were being constructed on time, within cost, and without accidents or injuries.  The Corps’ professional staff is working hard to make sure that our service members and their families have facilities for work and leisure activities that are commensurate with the tremendous level of service they are providing to our great nation.
 
It was a great whirlwind of a trip. Thanks for letting me share some of my experiences with you.

Corps Projects, Family Readiness, Infrastructure, Military Programs

Supporting Soldiers, Civilians and Families

February 26th, 2008

(Originally posted Feb 26, 2008)

I recently gave Defense of Freedom Medals- the civilian equivalent to the Purple Heart- to Natalie and Jarrod for IED wounds received in Iraq. They, along with our other 800 civilians deployed in OIF/OEF, are courageous and committed to getting ‘er done over there. I stand in awe.

Natalie’s and Jarrod’s injuries put the spotlight on how we take care of wounded Civilian warriors and their Families. We succeeded because of the extraordinary efforts of COL Ray Midkiff and his team in Louisville (and many others), but we also learned we could have had things wired better for our Civilians and their Families-to do them justice.

We’re now fast-tracking our efforts to create a value-adding Family Readiness Program, with standardized procedures for helping with pre-, during-, and post-deployment issues.

In early February, dozens of USACE employees and their family members teamed up to take this on. At the end of their time together, representatives outbriefed a number of needed actions. Using this as a kick start, we made a commitment to begin in earnest to build the USACE Family Readiness Program for our employees – Civilians and Soldiers (Active Duty, Reserve and Guard). This week, we are reconvening and expanding a HQ Family Readiness Project Development Team (PDT) to address the issues raised — to include participation in the Army’s family programs, clarification of casualty management and medical processes, and improvement in the way we deploy our team members and bring them home. One exciting development is that we have a commitment from HQ Department of the Army to provide 10 Army Integrated Family Support Network Specialists to help us in our efforts. Timelines and specific arrangements are working now to make that a reality.
The Corps is absolutely committed to taking care of our people and their families. We are making great progress with this initiative. If you have a passion to help in this area, please contact your leadership and get involved. It takes a “Village”!

Afghanistan, Contingency Operations, Family Readiness, International and Interagency Services, Iraq, Military Programs , , , , , , , , ,