Ask the Garrison Commander: Mulbury addresses FRGs, access to hiking trails & bullying

| January 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

Col. Douglas Mulbury
Commander, U.S. Army-Garrison Hawaii

Mulbury addresses FRGs, access to hiking trails and bullying

Mulbury

Mulbury

The “Ask the Garrison Commander” program is designed as a communication tool to allow Soldiers, civilians and family members to get their concerns addressed and questions answered.

Due to newspaper space limitations, only a sampling of questions are printed or broadcast on TV2, a channel available on Army installations.

Generally, I answer questions of community-wide impact. However, all submitted questions come directly to me. Directorates and support staff research queries and provide responses.

Several community members submitted questions to me via the live TV2 town hall, at the Ask the Garrison Commander e-mail address, and through the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii web link at www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/comments/contactgc.aspx.

These communication tools are provided to allow you — Soldiers, family members and civilians who live and work on the installation — to get your concerns addressed and answered.

Q: Is there a family readiness group policy that governs the training of FRG members?

A: Initial and ongoing training for all FRG members is a key element to the success of our family readiness programs. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, emphasized the importance of this and identified specific training requirements for commanders, rear detachment commanders, family readiness support assistants and FRG members in his Nov. 15, 2010, memo, FRSA Program Guidance.

In support of this memo and Army Regulation 608-1, our local Army Community Service team hosts “FRG Boot Camp” training, once a month, which focuses on how we can equip FRG leaders with the resources needed to be successful in a new position.

In addition to the formal training, an FRG “Smart Book” disk, with information such as sample standard operating procedures and other essential information, is provided to each FRG member. The next class is scheduled for Jan. 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Schofield Barracks ACS. Call 655-4227.

Q: Why does it take so long for the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic website to get updated after new or revised information has been submitted? I have been told these delays are caused because people lack the authority required to make the changes. Soldiers and families rely on this site, and we should have access to the correct information.

A: After reviewing your comments and concerns, the commander of the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic took immediate action to correct this problem. As a direct result of your inquiry, the clinic has implemented changes to both website and administrative controls that will allow it to better support patients, and provide us the accurate and timely information we all require.

Q: How do you obtain permission to hike on Schofield Barracks?

A: To obtain approval to hike the beautiful trails located on Schofield Barracks and other Army land, send a short letter to the Directorate of Public Works Real Estate Office, which includes the date of the requested hike, the number of people in the party and contact information. Your letter must be signed and submitted to our Real Estate Office within 10 business days of the date you intend to hike.

Requests should be sent via e-mail to bobbie.puahala@us.army.mil, by fax at 656-8200, or by mail to U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Directorate of Public Works, 947 Wright Ave., Bldg 104, WAAF, Schofield Barracks, HI, 96857. Upon receipt and approval of your request, a letter of approval with specific info regarding installation access procedures and other information relevant to your visit will be sent to you. This letter must be carried with you while you are conducting your hike. Please be aware that hiking is only available on weekends from sunrise to sunset. Call 656-3259.

Q: What can be done to increase post knowledge and compliance with the policy regarding standards of dress and prohibited attire on Army installations here in Hawaii? I make an average of 15 to 20 on-the-spot corrections every time I enter any of our post’s facilities, but without consequences, this policy is not very effective. Maybe this policy should be sent to all Soldiers or discussed at an all-hands brief. 

A: As you suggest, the garrison’s policy regarding standards of dress is currently briefed at every Pre-Comma­nd Course for in-bound first sergeants and commanders. It is further reinforced at each quarterly Command Sergeant Major Council Meeting to help ensure maximum visibility, awareness and compliance. Additionally, the USAG-Oahu command sergeant major recently published a message through the Installation Operations Center to every Army command and tenant activity on Oahu, which clarified this policy, emphasized its importance and described the consequences for those who fail to meet prescribed standards of dress.

Q: My wife and our four children live in a five-bedroom house at Aliamanu Military Reservation, and were recently told that upon moving out, we would be responsible for paying to have the house painted. I would like to paint it myself, but understand this is not an option. We cannot afford the $800-$1,000 it would cost to repaint, and don’t understand why we cannot do it ourselves as a self-help project. Also, the community center has no tools available for cutting the grass and only one electric weed whacker for the entire complex. 

A: As disclosed in the lease agreement with Island Palm Communities and the resident guide, it is our housing partner’s policy that residents are responsible for painting costs associated with any damages to walls upon move-out. If there is no damage, there is no cost. While I can understand your concern about having to pay $800 or more to repaint your house when you move, this is not likely to be an issue if you and your family simply take care to minimize any damages. However, should the move-out inspection disclose damages to walls and you are unable to repay the amount in full, Island Palm Communities is willing to work with you to develop a convenient payment plan.

Regarding the limited number of tools available to maintain your lawn, the community centers are aware of this problem and are making plans in their fiscal year 2012 budgets to increase the self-help inventory of lawn trimming tools and equipment.

Q:  It is my understanding that our Post Exchange considers Hawaii a location outside the continental U.S., and as such, honors manufacturer’s coupons for up to six months past their expiration date. Why does the Commissary not consider Hawaii OCONUS, as well, and honor coupons similar to the way the PX does? 

A:  The Defense Commissary Agency’s ability to accept expired coupons is controlled by DODI 1330.17, the Armed Services Commissary Operations Instruction, which identifies commissaries in Alaska and Hawaii as part of the 50 states and not overseas. Additionally, Chapter 7 of DeCA Directive 40-6 states, “At (continental U.S.) commissaries, including Alaska and Hawaii, a coupon is considered invalid, and will not be accepted, if presented later than the expiration date.”

DeCA’s ability to accept expired coupons in true overseas commissaries is based on a non-written “gentleman’s agreement” between DeCA and the manufacturers, due to the limited availability of coupons, such as the coupon inserts in Sunday papers, in areas outside the 50 states. If DeCA  expanded the six-month expiration policy to commissaries in Alaska and Hawaii, this act would jeopardize the agreement and could result in the loss of its ability to accept expired coupons anywhere.

Q: Bullying is a major issue in our schools today. What can be done to educate our Soldiers and noncommissioned officers on this matter, and how they, in turn, can better inform their family members?

A:  The Hawaii Department of Education is aware that bullying is an issue that schools are facing both here and across the nation. Face-to-face encounters and online cyber bullying are on the rise. Our schools are addressing this issue by including parent information on bullying in their newsletters, teaching about it in the classroom and making sure that counselors and staff are trained to deal with it on campus. Soldiers and families can get more information about bullying from the Army Community Service, Family Advocacy Education Program at 655-4227, or the School Liaison Office at 655-9818.

To submit an “Ask the Commander” question, send an e-mail to AskTheCommander.usaghi@us.army.mil. For more information, call Bill Lenharr (656-0611) at USAG-HI Command Group, or call Aiko Brum (656-3155) at USAG-HI Public Affairs.

 

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Category: Leadership, News

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