Tuesday night Fort Hood leaders wrapped up the final of four community engagements discussing the issues facing residents living on the installation, whether in leased housing or in barracks.

For the past week, I’ve been part of panels inside Howze Auditorium hearing first-hand the challenges our troops and their Families have been facing. It’s an important first step, for all of us, in identifying the problems we face. But it truly is only the first step.

Moving forward, Fort Hood will address short, mid and longterm solution for its processes and procedures, especially as they pertain to clearly identified shortfalls in maintenance and repairs. Here’s what we WILL do in the coming days.

We will:

•    Send command teams across the installation to visit 100 percent of barracks and homes on post. That has already begun, and we will accomplish it no later than March 8.

•    Send issues found during these command visits to housing maintenance for timely resolution.

•    Make changes within the Directorate of Public Works Housing to enhance our oversight of the maintenance efforts by our housing partner, Lendlease.  

•    Hold our housing partner accountable for their commitment to our Soldiers and their Families.

•    First, and foremost, hold ourselves – the leadership at Fort Hood – accountable to you, our Army Family.

I have to be honest. Listening to the litany of issues presented in nearly 12 hours of community engagements the past week was difficult, and in some ways disheartening to me. Like everyone else in the Army, I saw and heard the testimony on Capitol Hill by military Family members earlier this month thinking to myself, “Our troops deserve better.”

That’s where engaged leadership comes to bear. A common theme among many of posts on our Facebook Live streaming of those community events was skepticism. The question asked numerous times, in a variety of ways boiled down to this: How will you be accountable moving forward?

An engaged leader listens. We’ve done that, and will continue to do that at all levels of command. An engaged leader cares for the well-being of those placed under their charge. An engaged leader sees a problem and works to fix it.

Who cares? We do!

As I write this, there are more than 1,100 work orders being processed through the system with less than 20 being categorized as pertaining to life, health or safety.  Actions to correct those situations are being expedited. We are tracking it all closely, and will continue to do so next week, next month, next year and on.

That’s our leaders’ commitment to you, the Fort Hood community. Care, concern and commitment will be our watch-words going forward. You deserve nothing less than our best efforts.

Additionally, a 24-hour hotline has been established  for emergency situations that need immediate leadership attention due to life, health or safety issues within the barracks or housing areas that could not be resolved through the normal work order process.

The Housing/Barracks Life/Health/Safety Leader Hotline is 254-206-1157 which will be answered by the III Corps and Fort Hood Field Officer of the Day.

Who cares? I do.