FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (March 4, 2022) Senior garrison leaders here hosted the March Community Information Forum virtually via the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page Wednesday.
The monthly forum is designed to provide a better understanding “of our community around us” and improve networking opportunities for service members, families, civilians and retirees, said Megan O’Donoghue, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director.
This month’s theme was transition services, O’Donoghue said.
“Whether you’re transitioning into Fort Leonard Wood, transitioning out of military service, transitioning children into new schools or yourself into a new job, there are resources available for you,” O’Donoghue said.
This month’s Community Information Forum coincided with the kickoff of the annual Fort Leonard Wood Army Emergency Relief campaign, which runs through June 17.
Calling it a great program, Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, noted that the Fort Leonard Wood community gave more money to AER than any other Army installation in 2021.
“We’d love to be able to do that again, because this is money that goes directly back to our Soldiers and families in need,” he said.
Last year, AER helped 337 Soldiers and retirees, AER Officer Chuck Matthews said.
The campaign goals this year include building awareness of AER by contacting 100 percent of personnel here, reaching a donation rate of at least 25 percent and ultimately bringing in donations totaling at least $150,000, Matthews said.
“If you look at the categories of assistance we have, we provide a lot of funds to a full variety of things that help Soldiers, retirees and their families,” he said.
To donate, call 573.596.2595 or 0212. To request AER assistance, call 573.596.3154.
Walter Harris, from the Directorate of Human Resources, spoke about some of the programs in place to assist in smooth transitions for service members and their families here.
Harris noted the Transition Assistance Program is mandatory for transitioning Soldiers, who served at least 180 days on active duty. Through TAP, service members may get information on education and vocational programs available to them, as well as classes on finances and resume writing, and one-on-one counseling.
“You don’t have to be in that (180-day) window to come check out our services and see what we provide for you,” Harris said. “If you think that you’re going to retire, or think that you’re going to leave the service, come by and talk to one of the counselors.”
Harris listed some upcoming hiring fairs, including a virtual event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 15 through https://recruitmilitary.com, and a military spouses-specific career fair on April 12 through https://rmvets.com/Army.
Harris also spoke about the Career Skills Program, which provides transitioning Soldiers the opportunity to participate in employment-skills training, on-the-job training, pre-apprenticeships and internships with a high probability of employment in high-demand and highly-skilled jobs — all while the service member retains their pay and allowances. He noted that 78 percent of Fort Leonard Wood service members have been hired upon completion of a CSP internship.
“The CSP program is probably the best-kept secret that the Army has to offer,” he said. “There’s no other organization in the world that’s going to pay you — and give you extra money — to go learn additional skills prior to you leaving their organization — it’s an awesome program.”
Click here for more information on CSP.
The Transition Assistance Program office, located in Bldg. 470, Room 2219, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Walk-ins are accepted. Call 573.596.0175 for more information.
Speaking on behalf of the Military Personnel Division, Noah Stevens, Retirement Services officer, listed two new email addresses that have been created, including one for out-processing and special-duty assignment pay (firstname.lastname@example.org) and one for reassignment documents (email@example.com).
The addresses help to ensure personnel actions are done in a timelier manner, Stevens said.
The go-live date for the Integrated Personnel and Pay System — Army, or IPPS-A, is set for Sept. 20, Stevens said. The software is a web-based human resources system that provides integrated personnel and pay capabilities and a comprehensive HR record for all Soldiers in all components of the Army.
Stevens mentioned the next meeting of the installation’s retiree council is scheduled for May 18. There are currently four enlisted slots available on the council.
The next pre-retirement briefing is scheduled for June 14. Spouses are welcome and encouraged to attend. Stevens recommended attending the briefing at least one year ahead of retirement.
Col. Aaron Pitney, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital commander, highlighted some aspects of the disability evaluation process for transitioning service members, including medical evaluation boards, or MEBs.
Pitney said service members are referred for an MEB by their primary care manager. The MEB then reviews the service member’s medical information and determines whether or not that service member is at what’s called the medical retention determination point. If so, they are entered into the disability evaluation system. If not, they are returned to duty with a note to their commander and provider. The integrated disability evaluation system takes approximately 210 days to complete, Pitney said, adding that delays currently exist in processing due to COVID-19.
Pitney also highlighted some of GLWACH’s services, including the Acute Minor Illness Clinic. Located directly across from the Emergency Room, the AMIC is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, including holidays.
Beneficiaries may be seen there for cough and cold symptoms, nausea and vomiting, cuts and lacerations, rashes and allergy symptoms, fractures and sprains, sports physicals, skin infections, headaches, nose bleeds, earaches or pain, sore throats, and urinary symptoms.
For more information on the AMIC, call 573.596.9602.
Visit the GLWACH Facebook page for the latest information from the hospital here.
Gabe Medina, from Army Community Service, spoke on relocation services available here.
“We provide services for those service members and their family members, who are transitioning and leaving the area or coming to Fort Leonard Wood,” he said.
Medina listed “five simple steps” to a stress-free relocation:
- Manage stress with preparations. Change, even good change is stressful. Be ready for unexpected challenges. Give people some slack because everyone reacts to change differently.
- Accept a move as a challenge. Face the move with determination and creativity, ask for help when needed and research helpful info about the new area before arrival.
- Attack tasks with to-do lists. The number of tasks to organize a move can be overwhelming. Lists help people keep track of progress.
- Keep a positive attitude. Stress and multiple tasks will creep in, but try to remain positive. Talk about all the new opportunities a move provides with family and friends.
- Make time to relax. Moving is a team effort and can be hard. Take time to unwind. Take leave to get accustomed to new surroundings and explore the new sights.
As another way to assist in making relocations less stressful, the ACS Lending Closet has free basic household items available while household goods are in transit, Medina said.
Call ACS at 573.596.0212, or visit ACS on Facebook for more information on available services.
Tamara Smith, Child and Youth Services coordinator, said CYS can help service members with relocations by working with the gaining installation to streamline the childcare paperwork process prior to the move. They can also assist with off-installation childcare options, if a spot is unavailable at that time on the gaining installation. Call 573.596.0238 or 0421 to learn more.
Smith also highlighted the School Liaison Office that can help with the Youth Sponsorship Program.
“So our youth, who are going to their next duty station are able to get another youth to sponsor them and have somebody that knows them when they get there,” Smith said. “It also helps with parents getting acclimated to the schools that are available at that next duty location, and that will help them be able to decide where is best for my child to go. It also helps them when they’re looking at housing options.”
Call 573.596.0357 for more information.
Jeffrey Barrett spoke on behalf of FMWR’s business and recreation section, and highlighted some upcoming events.
In partnership with the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program office, Walk a Mile in Their Shoes runs through May 31, offering the Fort Leonard Wood community the chance to raise awareness and promote prevention by completing 100 miles of walking before the deadline. The program is self-directed and costs $10 per person. Participants receive a commemorative T-shirt.
A 1920s-themed interactive murder mystery event is set to take place at 7 p.m. March 11 at Pershing Community Center. Cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and attendance is limited to 50 people.
The Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area will begin offering bass-fishing tournaments, with dates set for March 12, April 2, May 14, June 3, July 8 and Aug. 5. Cost is $40 per team.
Piney Valley Golf Course will be opening soon.
“Our team is working diligently right now to make sure the course is prepared,” Barrett said.
An FMWR hiring fair is scheduled for March 30 at the Bruce C. Clarke Library, Barrett said.
Visit the FMWR Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on these and other upcoming FMWR events.
Casey Thompson, the USO transition specialist here, highlighted some of the resources available to transitioning service members and their families, including free civilian or federal government resume writing classes, access to online learning platforms, personal branding workshops and mentorship connections. More details are available online at https://www.uso.org/programs/uso-pathfinder-transition-program, or by calling 785.492.9207.
The next forum is tentatively scheduled for April 6. Click here to view more information on the slides from this or previous events.
Fort Leonard Wood community members may submit topics of interest or issues they feel should be addressed through the Community Information Forum via the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, website at https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=145057&s=447.
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission