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Housing 1 Source program helps newly assigned soldiers and families

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Greetings from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), our Army’s and our soldiers’ professional organization.

Special thanks to the Alamo Chapter in San Antonio for hosting my visit to their wonderful city and the historic Fort Sam Houston in December.

The chapter and Housing 1 Source of San Antonio hosted an evening social for all corporate sponsors.

The event gave me the opportunity to meet and speak to all the organizations that support the chapter and all our soldiers and their families.

Maj. Gen. Russell J. Czerw, USA, Ret. and the Housing 1 Source leadership gave me a tour of their facilities and their mission.

Housing 1 Source is the best soldier and family sponsorship program for newly assigned personnel I have ever seen.

They are a one-stop shop for housing, utilities, schools and everything new families need to integrate into the local communities.

My remarks to the corporate sponsors centered on the current draw-down of the Army and the fiscal impacts of sequestration and the recent government shutdown.

Historically, our Army has gone through draw-down events after every major conflict in the last 150 years, but this transition is different.

Globally, the world is still very unstable and we face an uncertain future.

For the Army, this challenge is multiplied with the fiscal absence of a defense budget and sequestration.

Quality-of-life programs for soldiers, retired soldiers, Army civilians and their families will face significant impacts.

For all of the members of AUSA and those corporate sponsors who seek opportunities to help our warriors, this is a window of opportunity.

A long time ago in an Army prior to 9/11, budgets were tight, especially for quality of life programs, and commanders at all levels embraced their volunteers.

All of you are volunteers and you want nothing more than to help.

Now is the time to reach out to all commanders and senior leaders to help them understand the untapped assets in their community and seek out opportunities to do more with less.

Thanks to Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes, the Army North CSM, and Parry Delozier for hosting my visit to Fort Sam Houston.

One of the great highlights of the trip was spending about 90 minutes with all the officer and noncommissioned officer leaders of Army North in a leadership professional development forum.

The audience included young team leaders who have responsibility for their piece of the Army, two or three soldiers; to platoon leaders and sergeants; to senior leaders in command and staff positions.

Leaders want to know what they can do to be competitive for promotions and key assignments as the Army gets smaller.

The older group of leaders wanted to know how to prepare for transition into the civilian workforce.

Others just wanted to know more about sequestration and the subsequent impacts on the Army.

All of these questions were expected and it is important for all of us to reassure our troops that we will get through this period of angst just as we have done many times in the past.

We have the greatest Army in the world right now and when the dust settles, we will still have the greatest Army in the world because we have the greatest soldiers.

I referenced a point made by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell, when he told the soldiers and noncommissioned officers at the Best Warrior Competition Awards Ceremony to let him and the Army leadership worry about money and budgets and for young leaders to focus on training their soldiers.

It is the young adaptive leaders who seek out and focus on opportunities to train their soldiers during these lulls in garrison who will demonstrate the potential to serve in positions of increased responsibility in the future.

I attended the change of responsibility ceremony for the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) where Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter hosted the transition between Command Sgt. Maj. Earl L. Rice and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey S. Hartless.

For all of us here at AUSA, we wish Rice and his family the greatest success as he begins his transition for retirement and the next chapter in their lives.

We wish Hartless the greatest success as he assumes one of the most demanding positions in the Army as the IMCOM CSM.

Before departing Fort Sam Houston I visited the Caisson Platoon where one of the horses was named in my honor.

I was very honored and humbled by this recognition.

The ceremony gave me the opportunity to say thanks to this small group of soldiers who perform one of the most important and dignified missions for our fallen warriors.

Last year this group of soldiers participated in more than 1,200 funerals.

With many of the soldiers supporting these funerals coming from detailed units across the installation, this small unit is instrumental in helping with the training and preparation to ensure each funeral is a success and a treasured memory for family and friends.

Now more than ever America’s Army needs AUSA and AUSA needs your membership support.

 

Still Serving, Still Saluting!