Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, Fort Jackson commanding general, asks a question to attendees during a monthly Community Information Town Hall at the NCO Club June 10, 2022. During the town hall, attendees learned about resources available to them, upcoming events and initiatives, and ask the installation and directorate leadership questions. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Shea)

Community Information Town hall gathers information for action

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, commanding general, and Garrison Commander Col. Ryan Hanson held a Community Information Town Hall June 10 to inform Fort Jackson community members of upcoming events and to gather information from community members.

“For the past six or eight months I have talked about summer coming, it’s here and the summer surge is upon us,” Michaelis said. “We have a lot of things going on on post.”

Michaelis highlighted Fort Jackson’s 105 years of heritage and history, Army’s 247th birthday and the return of Independence Day fireworks on July 2.

“For the first time in four years, we are bringing back fireworks to Fort Jackson,” Michaelis said. “We will also have great entertainment such as Breland, local talent and our own 282nd Army Band.”

A panel of directorate senior leaders were also available during the town hall to provide information and gather comments and concerns from attendees to act on.

While the panel reminded Team Jackson members that all fireworks are banned on the installation. One attendee, and mother, asked the command group if an exception to allow sparklers for supervised children could be allowed.

“Approved,” Michaelis declared.

Additional topics that were brought up during the town hall included peak season for those military members preparing to conduct a permanent change of station; the start of hurricane season and being prepared for the season that runs from June 1 to November 30; 101 Critical Days of Summer Safety campaign; Army Community Services programs; Child and Youth Services programs; and upcoming Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation events.

Hanson spoke to community members about the importance of speaking with the transportation office as soon as Soldiers receive their orders and their chains of command if they are having issues with their orders.

“We can help,” Hanson said. “You can always have your people call the Installation Operation Center for help at (803) 751-5166. There is always someone there to answer.”

The Fort Jackson Housing Office followed Hanson by listing resources available to Soldiers to assist those who will PCS with breaking leases, assistance with obtaining housing for those arriving to the installation and temporary housing until more permanent housing can be obtained.

“Last year was the inaugural Temporary Lodging Expenses matching at IHG Hotels,” Hanson said. “Normal you get 10 days, but since the housing shortage you can now stay at IHG Hotels on-post past the 10 days for the Basic Housing Allowance rate.”

The hosing office can help Soldiers obtain the matching by providing a memorandum.

The town hall finished with a question-and-answer session where a variety of concerns were addressed or compiled to take back to directorate headquarters to discuss to see how further action can be made.

Since the previous month’s town hall, action has been taken to provide uniformed personnel access to the Commissary on Monday from 2 to 7 p.m. when they are normally closed; military children residing off post are now eligible to attend Department of Defense Education Activity schools on Fort Jackson; and increase of maintenance workers within post hosing to increase the turnaround time of work orders.

“The network of this post here can really solve problems here,” Michaelis said in his final remarks. “I don’t do Community Information Town Halls to listen to myself talk. We do it to get information out to the community. Use your networks to connect Families to those resources and each other and get the word out about what we are doing on Fort Jackson and how we are taking care of each other.”