FORT HOOD, Texas – Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers representatives gathered at the Phantom Warrior Center Oct. 6 to meet with Command Sgt. Maj. Calvin Hall, command sergeant major, U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Hood, about barracks renovation and new construction here.
Ensuring Soldiers have nice living arrangements aligns with one of Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe’s, III Armored Corps and Fort Hood commander, “Phantom Tasks” which is caring for Fort Hood Soldiers, DA civilians and their families.
Hall said barracks are home to Fort Hood’s single Soldiers and it’s vital that they feel at home because they spend more than 40% of their time there.
“BOSS is the voice of the single Soldiers, most of whom live in the barracks. When they know what the installation is doing regarding renovations and building new barracks, they help get the message out,” Hall said. “That message being, “Our Soldiers deserve quality barracks and in meeting that end state, it is essential that we solicit feedback from Soldiers that can help in improving future renovations and barracks design. They need to know that their voice is important and is being heard.”
Specialist Dallas Parker, Fort Hood BOSS president and Spc. Robert Webster, Fort Hood BOSS vice president, were glad that the BOSS representatives were able to voice their input to Hall directly.
“I definitely like how Sergeant Major Hall has shown more interest in what the Soldiers think and actually being there face-to-face,” Parker said. “A lot of Soldiers hear ‘garrison’ and anything higher than that they don’t ever really get to meet those people, so a lot of times, they’ll form their own opinions about what they think they do or how they are. This gives them a chance to see exactly how someone garrison is and … that they are actually out there trying to do good things for this post.”
“I do actually appreciate the fact that he’s … bringing (BOSS representatives) all around and he’s not trying to address a large group, but people that interact with the larger group,” Webster said. “Also just giving people that reassuring, ‘Hey, we are doing something for this,’ It kind of puts a face to everything.”
Parker hopes that the input the BOSS representatives have given will be used in time on future projects.
“I think within the future, things can be dealt with differently and I think it’s just a matter of time,” Parker said. “I know they had a survey that went out for what (Soldiers) would like to see changed in the barracks. I know one BOSS representative wished that would have come out sooner because now it’s too late to (implement) any of those changes into the barracks that are being renovated now. I think a lot of stuff that has been brought up will be changed within the next barracks. I think it’s just a process that takes time.”
“One (BOSS Representative) mentioned they liked the fact that they were actually making changes and actively seeking more improvement suggestions and whatnot,” Webster said. “I know from what I’ve been taught that you always improve your battle position and that goes the same for barracks and the fact that they’re willing to improve them and improve the lives of these Soldiers (is encouraging). Things are just getting better and better.”
Both Parker and Webster agree that it was a good idea for the garrison command team to include BOSS in the barracks remodeling process because they are a direct line to the Soldiers who fill the barracks.
“BOSS is the voice of single Soldiers, single parents and geographical bachelors. If you look at everybody who lives in those barracks, they’re single Soldiers. So the people that are affected by any barracks moves are the people that (BOSS) is the voice of,” Parker said. “Colonel (Chad R.) Foster (Garrison commander) was the one that came to us and sergeant major (Hall). Why it was such a good idea to have us involved is because we’re the ones that communicate the most with the barracks Soldiers outside of the units themselves.”
“One huge thing for mental health, morale and whatnot is having good living quarters or the promise of better living, but also communication with the people that make those decisions,” Webster said. “In my experience, this does give them a little bit of interaction time with (leaders) so it gives them a little bit of a boost at the fact that there is somebody trying to make a change.”