Commander’s Dispatch – 28 October 2012

The beautiful fall weather in our neck of the woods has degraded to threatening storm conditions for the early part of next week. The entire
installation has done a phenomenal job in transitioning from steady state operations & support to contingency operations preparation. Our hopes remain that our efforts at the end of last week only serve as prudent planning efforts and not in wholesale execution. I am confident, however, that should AP Hill be called, we are ready to respond.

Some highlights from last week:

1. Training Support. As a Regional Training Center, we support challenging & realistic training for a diverse training population that includes top tier units & organizations from our special operations community; conventional active duty, national guard, and reserve units from across the joint force;and multiple interagency organizations & activities. Last week, AP Hill supported 33 units and over 3800 Warriors executing dynamic live fire and maneuver training across our range complex. We continue to receive the strongest endorsements from our customers for our professional and customer oriented approach to support the Warrior. Additionally, our customers continue to highlight the adaptive and flexible nature of the installation to meet their needs. I tip my hat for a JOB WELL DONE!!!

2. Emergency Management. AP Hill executed a flawless transition from steady state to contingency operations in preparation for possible adverse conditions at the onset of next week. The information flow was phenomenal and “CAN DO” attitude across the installation ensured our absolute readiness to protect our resident population and facilities as well as the potential for any number of “guests” seeking refuge from the storm. As the storm track continues to develop, we must remain vigilant in our approach to safety and wellness. We will execute normal operations on Monday, 29 OCT, however, a mid-day Crisis Management Team session will determine if conditions are degraded enough to warrant an early release. Additionally, as we monitor the storm through Monday evening, we will determine the timeline of activities for Tuesday work formations. Our intent is to allow our Emergency Service personnel an opportunity to clear any debris from the road network, restore utilities as necessary, and check the structural conditions of our facilities prior to any large number of employees and customers arriving for activities on the installation. Please stay tuned to local radio & television networks for the latest on the storm as well as the status of installation activities.

3. On Monday, 22 OCT, AP Hill hosted a SOUTHCOM (SOCSOUTH) Site Survey team to support assessments of our installations to serve as a host site for their significant training/exercise in June 2013. The SOUTHCOM event serves as a “Best Warrior” competition for Special Forces units from 28 participating nations across the SOUTHCOM & NORTHCOM areas of responsibility. I would like to share some initial feedback from a SOUTHCOM representative:

“LTC Dargle,

I heard from MSG Tarancon that AP Hill had a awesome site visit. He said the SOCSO team was very impressed with the presentation, the facilities and training areas, and the flight you arranged. He also said the Special Forces personnel at AP Hill gave glowing reports on how great it is to work with AP Hill personnel. I am very pleased and proud to hear such great things about AP Hill and knew you would be very competitive if you were given the opportunity. Good luck with the final decision.”

Given our exceptional organizational energy, personnel, and facilities, I am confident that SOUTHCOM will find AP Hill as the best possible location to host this significant event. We expect a decision in early to mid NOV. Thanks to everyone on the installation who supported this great visit as well as our great friends at 12th AVN Battalion who supported our aerial recon.

4. As part of last week’s Staff Call, we received an overview of the upcoming Combined Federal Campaign. We will kickoff this year’s drive on 1 NOV with the “Great AP Hill Chili & Bake Cookoff.” Although remaining realistic with our goals, it is important to note that no contribution is too large or too small. CFC affords enhanced opportunities for people to give back to those charities & organizations that have intrinsic personal value. Your support and contribution is significant!!!

5. Although the Installation Community Council is being rescheduled to NOV, we did have the opportunity to support our Joint Land Use Study efforts at the end of the week. A valued stakeholder in AP Hill’s mission, Fredericksburg Military Advisory Council members meet with JLUS Contractors to discuss AP Hill’s critical partnership with the greater community. Their insights and support of the installation mission are value added to telling the AP Hill story as well as highlighting our importance to the vitality of
the community at large. In a parallel community effort, we meet with Caroline County Sheriff Office to solidify understanding on training activities in line with our mutual aid. We will establish a policy letter that captures for record our agreed to positions.

6. Given crisis readiness requirements, the Command Team Brown Bag on Friday was significantly scaled back in participation. CSM Whitcomb and I would like to thank those that were able to attend and hope that the opportunity to engage the Command in an informal setting provided a good forum for information exchange. As noted to participants, this was a kickoff event with future Command Brown Bag events formally scheduled for each directorate. These events are designed to enhance communication across the installation with CSM & I updating participants on significant installation activities and answering/addressing any areas of common interest/concern. I trust that participants at the Kickoff event will promote future events and articulate the command messages received to their counterparts — especially in regard to the facts discussed behind the on-going restructure effort.

My priorities for next week are:

1. Emergency Management. As noted above, we must remain vigilant in our readiness status to react to adverse conditions created by Hurricane Sandy both locally and regionally. Crisis Management Team will meet at mid-day on Monday to determine necessary actions to protect our workforce as well as our partner & rotational units. This includes decisions on workforce/installation schedules for the remainder of Monday and into Tuesday. Additionally, commensurate with our mission, our posture must
support reception of units/organizations/agencies from across the mid-Atlantic that require sheltering support and/or continuity of operations. Understand that impacts locally may be less destructive than adjacent areas that will seek our support. Ask that the team remain tactically patient with our schedule for next week as we flex to address contingency requirements.

2. Support/execution of challenging & realistic training for both tenant & rotational training units. We plan to support 22 units and over 3300 Warriors in the upcoming week. Given the degradation in weather conditions for the upcoming week, I expect that these numbers will go down as units reschedule training activities to ensure the safe and productive execution of training activities.

3. Strategic Planning. The Planning Team will continue our strategic planning efforts this coming week. We will review the significant outcomes from our last session to include mission statement and installation values. We will also review the outcomes of our Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat (SWOT) assessment with a goal of identifying those critical elements that we will focus on over the next 3-5 years. Finally, we begin establishing actions/objectives along a timeline such that our efforts are prioritized within our mission set.

A parallel effort continues with our Restructure Forum set for 31OCT. This session will establish the framework for organizing the staff & functions of the installation for the purpose of improving our overall efficiency and effectiveness. We will also identify critical shortfalls in our manning/organization and establish effective plans/measures to “grow” these positions either internally with assets available or externally through critical hiring requests.

4. Senior Commander Visit. We will host our Senior Commander (conditions permitting). Our goal is to maximize this opportunity showcasing our incredible workforce and capabilities on the installation. Agenda and requirements are forthcoming to ensure readiness.

5. Preparation for upcoming AP Hill Family Events that will provide a wide range of quality activities for all ages. Rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, AP Hill will host its 2nd Annual Volksmarch on 4 NOV. We remain on track to conduct our Halloween Celebration on 31 OCT that includes a “Ghosts & Goblins” 5K Fun Run and “Trunk or Treat” activity. To encourage expanded participation by the installation, I endorse liberal employment of the “59 Minute” Rule to allow personnel to get home, change into “costume,” pick up the rest of the Family, and return to the installation in time for the 1700 start. We will
reinforce this message through the beginning part of next week. Upcoming in NOV will be our Installation Veterans Day Ceremony (8 NOV) and Thanksgiving Potluck (14 NOV). Planning, preparation, and coordination are critical to ensuring safe and quality events.

Tuesday’s Staff Call will be Training Focused. We will conduct a focused topic discussion on to prepare for Senior Commander visit to the installation.

Thanks again for all you do every day to ensure AP Hill’s success.

“Bring Hill Up!!!”

Peter E. Dargle
USAG Fort A.P. Hill Commander

About U.S. Army Garrison Fort A.P. Hill

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