Fort McCoy News January 10, 2014

Newcomer Orientation sessions available at McCoy

New members of the Fort McCoy community and workforce, as well as their spouses, are welcome to attend the installation's monthly Newcomer Orientation to learn about the installation's organizations, activities and policies/regulations.

Fort McCoy's Army Community Service (ACS) Relocation Readiness Program manager conducts the briefing, with the support of many other installation organizations, said Ann Wermer, ACS Relocation Readiness program manager.

Photo for newcomer article
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott talks about the training and economic impact of Fort McCoy during a Newcomer Orientation session at Fort McCoy. File photo

The sessions usually are held the second Wednesday of a month, from 8:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the ACS Center, building 2111. They include classroom briefings and an installation bus tour provided by the Fort McCoy Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) Marketing Office, Wermer said.

The briefings have the support and involvement of the Fort McCoy Garrison Command Group.

The garrison commander welcomes everyone and begins the session with an overview of Fort McCoy, including some of its 100-plus year history, Wermer said. Among the topics covered are training and economic impacts as well as Fort McCoy's mission and vision, economic impact and training role.

Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott said training surpassed 125,000 personnel for fiscal year (FY) 13 and is expected to do so again for FY14. He also said that the number of homes on South Post is expected to increase significantly over the next couple of years, Wermer said.

Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. DeeAnn K. Dunstan discussed maintaining standards saying that "life is what you make it, and the rewards are awesome."

Dunstan said "safety is paramount," covering a number of issues from suicide training to driving awareness. She added Fort McCoy personnel are "one big Family," and "we need to watch out for each other."

Dunstan also stressed the importance of getting involved in installation activities, such as Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers or volunteering, Wermer said.

Anyone who has installation concerns that are not being resolved through their chain of command can call 608-388-2677 (BOSS) and leave either an anonymous message or their name and phone number if they want Dunstan to contact them with what is being done to resolve the concern.

People from various organizations describe the activities and services their programs provide, Wermer said. "This gives the attendees a chance to associate a name, face and contact information with the various programs."

The Newcomer Orientation includes presentations from 16 organizations.

The Fort McCoy mission video also is shown and Garrison Command Group representatives are available to talk about various aspects of the installation.

In addition to ACS, the other organizations providing a representative to give an overview of their program include (in alphabetical order): Appropriated Fund Employment; Army Emergency Management; Army Substance Abuse Program and Employee Assistance; Biological & Cultural Resources; Child, Youth and School Services; Defense Commissary Agency; Directorate of Emergency Services Police and Fire Departments; Employment & Services; Equal Employment Opportunity and Equal Opportunity adviser; Exchange (Army & Air Force Exchange Service); Inspector General Office; Installation Legal Office; Nonappropriated Fund Employment; Religious Support Office; and TRICARE.

An opportunity for questions and answers also is provided.

At a recent meeting, Capt. Rick Jackson of the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Police Department spoke about various installation safety regulations, such as the ban on cellphone use (hands-free use is permitted) while driving, the mandatory seat belt law and various speed limits on post.

Curt Ladwig, the DES Fire Department inspector, talked about the North and South Post fire stations on post, the need to have a fire-evacuation plan and the need to be fire conscious at all times.

"Fire doesn't take a holiday," Ladwig said. "It is a 24/7 concern and can happen anytime."

Wermer said the training evaluation form attendees complete indicate the Newcomer Orientation gives them more awareness of what is offered by the installation and where things are located, as well as associating names and faces with the various agencies.

Unit/directorate sponsors are encouraged to visit ACS to obtain pre-arrival welcome CDs with information about the installation and surrounding communities to send to incoming personnel before they arrive at Fort McCoy, Wermer said.

Sponsorship coordinators may email incoming personnel information to the Relocation Program manager who then sends out the welcome CD. Sponsors should encourage new personnel to inprocess with ACS as well as attend a Newcomer Orientation as soon after arrival as possible.

For more information about the Newcomer Orientation or other ACS offerings, visit building 2111 or call 608-388-3505.