Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Messenger held a town hall session with the installation workforce May 25 to provide an update on news and information in the garrison, and more.
This was the first town hall for 2023 for Messenger. Two previously planned sessions for the town hall had to be postponed due to other events and weather. “We’re going to talk about a lot of cool things that have been done over the past couple months,” Messenger said as he started.
Messenger first had Deputy Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Chad Maynard speak to the workforce about his nearly two years as the deputy commander. Maynard will be finishing his tour at Fort McCoy soon.
“One thing about Fort McCoy, is when I came here, I fell in love with it,” Maynard said. “I’m a country boy by heart. Many of you have heard me say that before and this atmosphere in this climate just fits with me. But then coming to work every day, it was your own professionalism that helped me get through a lot of obstacles that came through the past two years. … So again, thank you so much for your support.”
Maynard was followed by Command Sgt. Maj. Raquel DiDomenico, garrison command sergeant major, who also is leaving the garrison to retire from the Army. DiDomenico thanked the installation team as well.
“You guys are amazing,” DiDomenico said. “I appreciate everything you guys have done. … I really appreciate when I call you guys, and I say, ‘hey, I need help with something’ and even if it’s not your lane, you guys jump all over it and you help me out. So, I really appreciate that. Thank you so much. Every time … you’ve stepped up and done something for not just this garrison but for the entire workforce and all of the Soldiers who come here to train. So, again, thank you very much. … Appreciate it.”
Messenger followed by then announcing the garrison was recently awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for its support for Operation Allies Refuge/Operation Allies Welcome.
“The Department of the Army has recognized Fort McCoy with the Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptional service during the Afghanistan mission,” Messenger said. “It was an incredibly difficult time for Fort McCoy, and you all performed outstandingly. … I am incredibly impressed by all of it. … You are a part of this and have earned this.”
The recognized timeframe for support for the award for Fort McCoy Garrison is Aug. 15, 2021, to April 1, 2022. The Army awards units the Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding achievement or service during combat or non-combat, requirements show.
Messenger also highlighted the installation’s new award-winning video series, Behind the Triad, that he completes with the Fort McCoy Multi-Media Visual Information Office.
“Greg Mason here behind the camera produces them, and we just go out, he and I, and just talk to people in our organization,” Messenger said. “We asked people, ‘What do you do? How long have you worked here? And we just have some fun. … I know all of you do something cool. Go send a note to (public affairs), and we’ll get out there and find some good videos to shoot. … We really just want to highlight you.”
Messenger also discussed and followed up on the following 20 strategic decision points for the garrison he had going into fiscal year 2023.
— Restore MFGI barracks.
— Transition to privatized housing.
— Execute fiscal year 2023 exercise season.
— Develop energy resilience strategy.
— Develop holistic civilian development plan.
— Achieve funding plan for multipurpose training facility.
— Conduct a full-scale exercise through the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
— Develop telework policy.
— Achieve 100 percent fill of work positions.
— Streamline hiring practices.
— Design garrison current operating picture.
— Retain physical fitness capacity.
— Establish awards board.
— Streamline staff action control sheet process.
— Develop battle rhythm consistency.
— Target social media platforms.
— Implement information technology modernization plan.
— Enhance civilian hiring strategy.
— Reconstruct Burma Road.
— Create Behind the Triad video series.
The barracks are pretty much restored at this point,” Messenger said. “We’re about 50 percent back. We received (back) 100 out of the total being done. … They will be done by August.
“We’re transitioning to privatized housing,” Messenger said. “That’s challenging, and we continue to move forward. Also, the exercise season is upon us. I would like to thank all of the organizations that work to getting our ranges ready with scheduling, with maintenance, and more. We have the best ranges in the Army that I’ve seen in 24 years. And it’s not because the facilities are cool. Yeah, that’s part of it. It’s because of the range workers and engineers that maintain that.”
Messenger also covered many of the other decision points and stated work will continue to improve on them and complete them to make Fort McCoy an even better place to live and work.
Messenger described some of the installation’s recent successes with inspections and process improvements, such as with hiring and recruitment, contract management, and construction projects.
He also discussed holding another command climate survey at the installation later in the year.
“So, when I first came in command, the Army mandates the new commander take a command climate action survey, push it out to the force, and we received about a 30 percent response rate,” Messenger said. “That means three out of 10 of you responded to the survey. So it’s incomplete data. … So, when we push this out again in October — I would add, this is my voluntary survey — I would ask that everybody fills out the command climate survey so we can get a true idea of where the climate is good or bad and take steps to fix it.”
Messenger said he hopes to have another town hall with the workforce in approximately three months’ time to check on progress once again.
In his previous town hall, Messenger shared “lines of effort” (LOE) that his leadership team focused on going forward and are continuing to focus on. These lines include:
— LOE 1.0: To Ensure Soldier, Civilian, and Family Readiness. “We have proven over the past year through COVID-19 and OAW that we can pivot our focus immediately, maintain exercise season capability, and simultaneously look to the future. We will continue to expertly train the warfighter, take care of employees, support families, and develop leaders.”
— LOE 2.0: To Maintain and Increase Installation Readiness. “The overall installation is aging with the preponderance of the buildings constructed in the World War II era. However, a robust planning process has paved the way to demonstrate continuous improvement throughout the decade. Our goal is to improve the processes, facilities, and infrastructure to support training service members to fight and win our nation’s wars while taking care of our people.”
— LOE 5.0: To Sustain Power Projection. “We must ensure the installation and people are prepared to train and mobilize at any time. Fort McCoy must quickly regain its OAW degraded infrastructure capacity to remain the ‘go to’ Mobilization Force Generation Installation (MFGI), Reserve and Guard training platform, and Strategic Support Area.”
— LOE 8.0: To Conduct Strategic Communications. “Our high visibility mission is critical to internal and external Fort McCoy stakeholders, to include the American public. We must build and maintain effective strategic communications to tell our story in support of Soldiers and service members, civilians, families, communities, and the nation.”
Fort McCoy was established in 1909 and its motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”
Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.
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