USAG-HI wraps year with many deeds

| December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

The USAG-HI commander, Col. Stephen E. Dawson, addresses the hiring freeze with employees at the Sgt. Smith Theater in April 2018. (Photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Compiled by
Aiko Rose Brum
Chief, Internal Communication

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — 2017 began with New Year’s resolutions, a professional inauguration and a host of new leaders in our nation’s Capitol.

In the Army, scholarship opportunities, cash bonuses for re-enlistment and getting promotion results on smartphones also created some buzz.

Early in the year, Island Palm Communities and the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Emergency Services received recognition for National Night Out events, which promote safety and crime prevention.

Former Deputy Garrison Commander Sally Pfenning won the 2016 William C. Gribble Jr. Directorate of Public Works Executive of the Year Award. Later on, several DPW employees won Secretary of the Army Energy awards for program effectiveness. The team had decreased energy costs and consumption to increase renewable energy and resilience.

The Army learned it would increase its end strength; however, in April, the USAG-HI commander, Col. Stephen E. Dawson, addressed the hiring freeze for civilians during a live town hall at Sgt. Smith Theater.

At Schofield Barracks, DES made significant gate changes that impacted motorists, taking residents and employees some time to adopt them. DES also updated traffic codes.

Throughout all installations, Soldiers began hearing more and more information about blended retirement that will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.
During the summer, the Garrison aided Kunia Village with drinking water when its sole water supply pump failed. USAG-HI pumped 250 gallons per minute to the village. It also partnered with Aqua Engineers, so Waikele Farms could receive R1, or recycled water, from the Schofield Barracks treatment plant.

The Department of Defense approved a $70 million grant for Solomon Elementary School, and the Hawaii Department of Education is contributing 20 percent in funds. A new campus will be built on land adjacent to Solomon’s existing campus. Also, the Historic Hawaii Foundation recognized several DPW projects with a Preservation Award at mid-year.

The Army’s Oahu Natural Resources Program, part of the DPW, continued to protect endangered tree snails and more than 80 other species in Oahu’s mountains. Also, with the help of small mammal control biologist Tyler Bogardus, 1,000 self-resetting rat traps were set in the Waianae and Koolau mountain ranges to protect endangered species.

As the Garrison was dealing with child care delays and unemployed spouses, antiterrorism officer Donald Murry was being honored for keeping our 22 installations safe from terrorist attacks. Elsewhere, the DES responded to abandoned vehicles. About 500-700 cars and trucks were abandoned by service members throughout the island, so the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation enacted a plan to help transferring service members dispose of their vehicles.

Throughout the year, personnel were warned to be ever careful and vigilant against digital scams by the Criminal Investigating Command. Meanwhile, throughout several months, officials reminded personnel of their conduct on social media. Harassment, bullying and the like, leaders stated, will never be tolerated.

Members of Joint Team Hawaii were crowned Culinary Team of the Year at Fort Lee, Virginia. Plus, local firefighters received honors for saving lives from U.S. Army Hawaii Commander Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli.

The Garrison signed its Leadership Pledge affirming the Service Culture Initiative from Installation Management Command that promises to foster a workplace that values its employees. Currently, personnel are attending one to two days of training on the initiative.

The Hawaiian Electric Company delivered six 159-ton generators for the 5-megawatt power plant being constructed on 8 acres of Schofield Barracks land, and the Schofield Barracks USO celebrated its grand opening at Schofield in November.

Vice President Mike Pence briefly visited Hawaii in April, and President Donald Trump would stop by in November.

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