Deputy garrison commander set to retire after 41 years of public service Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Story and photo by Robert Johnson
Managing editor
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After 41 years of taking care of people, Sue Halter, deputy garrison commander, is retiring to her farm in southern Missouri on March 29.

“You get to a point when you know it’s the right time to say ‘goodbye,’” Halter said during an interview March 14. “I think it’s time for me to step aside and let fresher, younger ideas step in.”
In garrison operations, “no two days are ever alike,” Sue Halter said in a recent interview. Halter will retire March 29 after 41 years of service to the Army.

For Halter, the past nine years of being the deputy garrison commander have been a highlight in her career of public service that spans four decades. Prior to stepping in the garrison job, Halter spent 32 years as a transportation officer on active duty.

“This has been far and away the best job I have ever held,” she said. “And it’s the people here that make it the best job.”

“I have had the pleasure of working with some great people here,” Halter said. “They will be the single biggest thing I will miss when I leave. It’s like leaving family.”

Halter had previous experience running a garrison while on active duty, having been assigned as the garrison commander of the Oakland Army Depot, Calif.

“It was a much smaller operation, but I had exposure to the workings of what it takes to run a garrison,” Halter said.

“One thing about running a garrison is that you never know what your day is going to be like. It’s not like you can come to work with your day planned out. The first phone call of the day can change everything you had planned. No two days are ever alike,” she added.

But planning is exactly how Halter will remember her time spent on Fort Leonard Wood.

“One of the biggest accomplishments I feel I did was the movement of all the brigades into their current footprints. It started under (Maj. Gen.) Bill McCoy, but it continued for years. We showed IMCOM (Installation Mangement Command) and TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) our plan to move units and create space and that transformed into more Starship barracks. Then we got the 94th Engineer Battalion and the 50th Multi-Role Bridge Company restationed here and we had to create space for them,” she said.

“Then FORSCOM (Forces Command) saw what we did and we got to stand up the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. When we did that, the inn was full. We literally ran out of space,” Halter added.

“Now, with the new barracks, new headquarters buildings, new company buildings and motorpools, we are seeing where we once again have space and could add units if we had to,” she said.

“And it’s the people here that made that happen,” Halter added. “You don’t have to micro-manage people that are good at their jobs.”

    Halter said that taking care of the people on the installation was always her number one priority.

    “If you take care of your people, your people will take care of you, and that in turn is taking care of Fort Leonard Wood. It’s a chain reaction that starts with leadership,” she said.

    However, on the horizon is a problem for the Fort Leonard Wood community that Halter acknowledges is growing bigger by the day.    

    “This furlough business is terrible … and it makes you really feel helpless because it’s going to affect so many people, in so many ways and there’s not much one can do to make it easier. It’s not just going to affect those furloughed; restaurants and businesses off post are going to see a decline,” she said.

    “I tell my directors to not make promises or give people false hope. As we speak right now, this furlough business is going to happen. Still a lot of details to work out, but it’s coming,” Halter said.

    Halter knows that her successor will have their hands full with the furloughs and other garrison missions, but she does have a bit of advice for those that follow her.

    “Take care of your people,” she said. “Let those under you do their jobs, but take care of them when you can, and they will take care of Fort Leonard Wood.”

    For those with the image of Halter riding off into the sunset, better plan on seeing her again.

    “I love this community and this fort,” she said. “I’ll be back … play some golf, see old friends. I’ll still have a lot of connection to this place.”




Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 April 2013 )