Here are the Archived entries for 4 2017

After 28 years of service, finding the riches in military life Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 April 2017
By Lisa Smith Molinari
Special to GUIDON

 “What the …?” my 16-year-old daughter, Lilly, stopped herself short in front of our minivan on a blustery, rainy morning before school.

 There, on the driveway, was a pile of shattered black glass. Just above the shards on the passenger’s rear side was a gaping hole where the window used to be.

 “Holy … cow!” I adjusted the expletive to accommodate my teenage companion.

 Two days prior, I had noticed that the rear window had detached from the mechanical arm that opened it and made a mental note to do something about it, having no idea that it might blow completely off the side of the van.

 I peeked inside the hole left by the absent window and saw gum wrappers floating in rainwater collected in the cup holders. “Good Lord,” I muttered helplessly, and told Lilly to get in. Of course, my husband, Francis, was away with our other car, so I had no choice but to drive the minivan to school, rain and all.

 After dropping Lilly off, I headed straight to the auto body shop to plead my case.

 “She’s old,” I told Tiego the mechanic. “We really don’t want to plunk too much money into her.”

 Our minivan, which we bought used in Virginia Beach 11 years ago, had almost 200,000 miles on her. Even though her headlights were hazy, her body was pitted with chips and dents, there was a crack running across her dashboard, the alloy wheels were corroded, the carpeting was worn bare in spots and the various school stickers on the rear window were peeling — her engine ran like a top. We were waffling about whether to keep her for a few more years to save money, or trade her in for an upgrade.

 I explained to Tiego that I had to take my daughter to Pennsylvania for college visits that weekend, but he wasn’t sure he could get a replacement window in time.

 I envisioned Lilly and I pulling up to a group of visiting prospective students on an ivy-covered campus, and jumping out of our old minivan with a pizza box duct-taped over the window.

 “I’ll see what I can do,” Tiego said.

 I walked to a nearby coffee shop to wait for the verdict. Tiego called just as I burned my tongue on a cup of green tea.

 “Well,” he paused, indicating that the news was bad, “I can get the replacement window today, but it will cost $300, $450 with labor.”

 “Why am I driving such a hunk of junk, anyway?” I thought. “Francis served in the Navy for 28 years, and all our Family has to show for itself is two used cars, credit card debt, a bunch of Polish pottery and a paltry savings? Is this all you get for dedicating your life to military service?”

 I wondered whether I should tell Tiego to put our old minivan out for scrap.

 But then, I remembered that our minivan was a beauty when we bought her, gleaming white, with only 8,000 miles and lingering new car smell. Through three tours in Virginia, she carted us to soccer games, school pick ups, speech therapy appointments and the commissary.

 She gave me no mechanical trouble during Francis’ yearlong deployment, and didn’t complain about all the dog hair, upchuck, stray french fries and fruit snacks that we dropped on her carpeting.

In 2008, she moved with us to Germany, where she safely negotiated winding roads in Austria, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Belgium and Switzerland.

When we moved to Florida, then Rhode Island, she zipped over U.S. highways and byways, taking us to visit friends and Family up and down the East Coast.
I realized, regardless of our modest budget, our military life had been quite rich all along, and told Tiego to replace the window after all. “She’s got a few more years in her,” I said, suddenly appreciative of our Family’s unique lifestyle.

I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t be able to embarrass Lilly with a duct-taped pizza box, but I was grateful for whatever adventures our military Family would encounter on the road ahead.

(Editor’s note: Molinari writes a column covering different aspects of military life. You can find her articles at

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2017 )
DES adds new vehicles to fleet Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 April 2017
Sgt. Jacob Cardell, a Soldier assigned to Traffic Division, gets comfortable in one of five new Joint Service Law Enforcement Vehicle Equipment Standardization military police vehicles Fort Leonard Wood law enforcement officials received as part of a presidential directive.
Story and photo by Stephen Standifird
Managing editor
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The U.S. Army Directorate of Emergency Services, Law Enforcement Division, received new additions to their vehicle fleet as part of an Army-led presidential directive.

The Joint Service Law Enforcement Vehicle Equipment Standardization is a GSA lease option initiated and led by the Army Installation Management Command Provost Marshal/Force Protection Directorate to save money, modernize and set a standard military−wide, according to a brief from IMCOM.

 Five were recently put into rotation on the streets of Fort Leonard Wood, with six more expected soon, and another five by the end of the fiscal year, said Capt. Robert Ishmael, supervising police officer, Traffic Division, DES.

 Ishmael said DES used to receive a standard vehicle from GSA, and would have to install law enforcement elements to make them sufficient for use. Those alterations, including adding lights, cages and emergency equipment, would cost DES a lot of money not only to purchase and install, but to take off when the lease was up, he said.

 “With IMCOM fielding the pre-packaged vehicles, we won’t have the added expense of having to buy everything out of the DES budget here,” he said.

 Ishmael estimates the JSLEVES initiative saves DES about $5,000 per vehicle, with the savings being applied to other areas of need within law enforcement.

 “We have more money to further our other investigative projects,” Ishmael said. “We are buying stuff for our major crash teams like police investigations electronic devices, special events items, speed carts and message board signs.”

 Ismael also said the savings give DES an opportunity to update, adding that the new cars are going to get computers so officers can do reports in the field.

 Officers driving the new cars don’t focus on the new gadgets as much, saying it’s more about being in a safer vehicle designed for law enforcement, said Sgt. Jacob Cardell, a Soldier assigned to Traffic Division.

 The addition of the new vehicles ensures DES can provide the necessary service to the Fort Leonard Wood communities.

 “(Having the new vehicles) is making sure our officers are making calls so we can serve the public efficiently and effectively,” Ishmael said. “We’re not worrying about if we have enough cars for the officers on the streets.”

 Ishmael said all 29 vehicles in the DES fleet will eventually be replaced by the new models.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2017 )
43rd AG Bn welcomes civilians on road to Army Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 April 2017
Story by Dawn Arden
Public Affairs Office

 While some are under the impression they will be starting basic training as soon as they arrive at the installation, the fact is there is much to be done before training can start.

Briefings, dental, haircuts, medical, paperwork and optical along with the issuing of uniforms all take place during the reception process at Fort Leonard Wood’s 43rd Adjutant General Reception Battalion in Grant Hall.

Those arriving at the reception battalion are greeted by drill sergeants and quickly get started on their transition from civilian to Soldier.
Volunteers are ushered into Grant Hall to begin their transformation from civilian to Soldier. File photo

 “They’re briefed on Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention within the first hour,” said Lt. Col. Seth Graves, 43rd Adjutant General Reception Battalion commander. “Then they’re given an amnesty brief and given the opportunity to throw away any contraband they may have. They’re also given an opportunity to call home to let somebody know they arrived here safely.”

 Parents shouldn’t worry if they don’t receive a phone call.

 “Not everyone chooses to call home,” Graves said. “Or, they’re not calling their parents, they’re calling their significant other. They’ll also have an opportunity to call home the day they ship to their unit.”

  The staff at the 43rd work hard to  ensure all paperwork is entered correctly and that Soldiers are medically cleared to begin training.

 “We make sure everyone is at the appropriate level of readiness before they ship to training,” Graves said.  “We ensure they are medically cleared, properly equipped and that all of the administration functions are taken care of. Once all of that stuff is done we ship them to their training unit.”

 According to Jim Holloway, Reception Operations chief, the length of time for this process varies depending on whether the Soldier is coming for Basic Combat Training or One Station Unit Training.

 “Those going to 3rd (Chemical) Brigade BCT will be here for about three and a half to four days,” he said. “If they’re going to Engineer OSUT or Military Police OSUT, they’re going to be here seven to 10 days.”

 One of the most important things new Soldiers heading to Initial Entry Training can do to help the process go smoothly is to make sure the correct official documents are uploaded when they visit the Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS.  

 “About 30 percent of the Soldiers arrive here without the proper documentation uploaded in the Army’s Reception Module so they routinely have to call back home to get that information faxed here,” Graves said.

 One item new Soldiers are issued during this integration process is ‘The Soldier’s Blue Book,’ which is filled with useful information for them to study in between appointments and during any down time they may have.

 “The blue book is filled with basic Army knowledge and has everything from rank structure, to the Soldiers Creed, to everything they need to start learning now,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Laumann, Company B, 43rd Reception Battalion drill sergeant.

 All agreed it is in Soldiers’ best interest to understand the paperwork put before them and to be completely honest while filling it out. It could mean the difference between simply having to spend a few extra days in reception to get additional medical testing, or being charged with fraudulent enlistment for hiding something that comes out later.

 “The bottom line is, no one will ship from here unless they’ve been cleared medically,” Graves said. “If we get Soldiers that withheld something they will likely be administratively separated and often times under a fraudulent enlistment.”

 For those getting ready to head to Fort Leonard Wood for basic training or OSUT, information can be found on the Reception Battalion’s web page at

 “We’re proud of every one of these Soldiers that come through our doors,” Graves said. “They all raised their right hand and committed to serve our country, we’re very grateful for them.”

 Each of those responsible for ensuring Soldiers get through reception want to reassure parents and loved ones of Soldiers coming through the reception battalion that they are in good hands.

 “Just know they are safe and learning the Army way,” Holloway said.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2017 )
Planting trees for partnership Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 April 2017
Col. Tracy Lanier, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, plants a tree following a ceremony highlighting contributions volunteers make to the school district and the surrounding communities at Pick Educational and Volunteer Facility Tuesday. Lanier; Dr. Brian Henry, Waynesville R-VI School District superintendent; Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman; and St. Robert Mayor George Lauritson spoke at the event. The Waynesville School District held the tree planting to symbolize the continued commitment of the three communities living, working and growing together. Photo by Ryan Thompson, Public Affairs Office
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2017 )
Army selects FLW Earth Day as best Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 April 2017
GUIDON staff

The U.S. Army recognized the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office with a first-place award in the 2016 Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Communications Awards competition for “Community Relations — Special Event.”

 The Army named their Earth Day event, held in April 2016, as the top event in the category after the team won at the Installation Management Command level earlier this year.

 The event started with a simple suggestion, said Tiffany Wood, Public Affairs Office director.

A public affairs specialist in the office approached Wood with an idea for a special event, one Fort Leonard Wood hadn’t participated in for a while. Wood said she approved the idea and left it up to the specialist to coordinate.

 “My educational background in wildlife conservation and biology made facilitating an Earth Day event for post an easy fit,” said Ryan Thompson, public affairs specialist.

 Thompson took the lead and coordinated with local conservation, wildlife and agricultural organizations as well as local schools and other Fort Leonard Wood offices, such as the Directorate of Public Works, for support.

 Public Affairs and DPW Environmental contributed more than 160 man-hours planning, coordinating and setting up the event.

 In the end, a packed Nutter Field House and about 500 school-aged-children made it all worth it, Thompson said.

 “Our Public Affairs staff put in outstanding work to ensure the success of Earth Day,” Wood said. “The recognition, not only at the IMCOM level, but the Army level as well, is a testament to the hard work the staff puts in every day — be it for a media engagement, the GUIDON or a special event.”

 Plans are already underway for this year’s Earth Day event scheduled for May 5.

 By placing first in the Army-level competition, the entry will now compete against the other services  in the Defense Media Awards competition.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2017 )
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