JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Center for Initial Military Training and 733rd Mission Support Group leadership hosted a town hall to address the Fort Eustis community’s concerns at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Oct. 5, 2017.
“We are fulfilling our commitment to make sure we have an open dialogue with the Fort Eustis community,” said U.S. Army Col. Ralph Clayton, 733rd MSG commander. “We want to hear the improvements that can be made, identify issues that we may not be aware of and get recommendations because good ideas don’t just come from the people who work here. They come from the community and local leaders too.”
The town hall was streamed live on the installation’s Facebook page to increase participation for those who were unable to attend the event in person. Questions were submitted via email, social media comments and messages, and from audience members who voiced their concerns to agencies across the installation. Topics included cold weather preparation, civilian hiring roadblocks, animal breed restrictions, and safety concerns with crosswalks and children living on the installation.
“I thought that it was a great format to both present and answer questions on various topics on the installation,” said Donna Haynes, 733rd Civil Engineer Division environmental protection specialist. “Leadership was very personable and seemed very committed in getting things resolved and getting back to the individuals who asked the questions.”
The limited access hours of the Shellabarger Drive gate was a major topic discussed during the town hall. Panel members explained that due to low manning and minimal use of Gate 2 reported from a traffic study, the gate hours changed to best manage the main gate on Fort Eustis Blvd. Gate 2 is currently open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekends and holidays.
“This was not a decision that we made lightly; we worked on this for several months before I made the recommendation that led to the ultimate decision on the gate closure hours,” said Clayton. “We are providing as much as we can within the capacity of our existing resources and manpower. Once we restore that, it is our goal to return those open hours.”
At the conclusion of the event, Clayton and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, CIMT and Senior Army Element commander, reconfirmed the importance of hosting events such as town halls to maintain an open dialogue regarding any issues across the installation.
“There are a lot of issues and challenges but in the end this is a pretty darn safe place to work and live,” said Frost. “At the same time, we do take your concerns, issues and challenges seriously because we want to improve them.”
The live stream can be viewed on the installation’s official Facebook page. Issues presented during the discussion were noted and those that were unanswered will be posted for further reference.