Want to know what events and activities are happening on the installation, where to go for a bite to eat or find out what’s on sale at the Exchange?
The U.S. Army has a new mobile app just for that purpose called “Digital Garrison.” The new app was developed through a partnership between U.S. Army Installation Management Command and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service with the goal of giving Soldiers, family members and civilians access to real-time information and to keep military communities connected. The free app, which went live for all 62 Garrison installations across the country just last week, is now downloadable from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
“We’ve wanted to join the app world for years,” said Megan O’Donoghue, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation acting director. “The app will allow our patrons to have MWR at their fingertips.”
O’Donoghue said that Digital Garrison is already pulling information from the Fort Leonard Wood FMWR website at https://leonardwood.armymwr.com and making it available in mobile form.
“Patrons will no longer have to go online to try to find MWR information; they simply have to download the DG app, set Fort Leonard Wood as their installation,” O’Donoghue said. “MWR events are highlighted right on the front page of the selected installation, plus the app has a big blue button at the bottom for ‘community,’ which allows patrons to browse … upcoming MWR events. Also, patrons have access to a list of recreation facilities, dining options and, of course, AAFES.”
Caitlyn Marler, FMWR marketing specialist, believes patrons will find the app convenient and helpful.
“This (will) be a very useful app to keep up with MWR events and facilities, as well as other things happening on Fort Leonard Wood,” she said.
Kassandra Perry with the Fort Leonard Wood Exchange said the new app will give visitors and those new to the installation easy access to information about products and services available on post.
“(It provides) information such as hours of operation, the physical addresses of stores they are interested in visiting, a brief summary of the type of products each store has (and) who is authorized to shop at each location,” she said.
Perry noted that the navigation option also includes a location pinning display, similar to mapping apps.
“(This) will be fantastic for (those) unfamiliar with what Fort Leonard Wood has to offer,” she said. “The app also includes weather forecasting, uniform building tools and Military Star Card (specials), as well as the movie-theater showings schedule, recreational events, Commissary events, deals and sweepstakes. You can also view gate information, the installation directory and a newcomer’s guide from the ‘Community’ tab.”
History of ‘Digital Garrison’
According to a release from U.S. Army Public Affairs, the Digital Garrison app actually started out as three apps as part of two separate projects undertaken in 2019.
After several U.S. Army Garrison commanders requested a mobile app to increase access to installation services, IMCOM began developing two apps to correspond with its two networks. Meanwhile, AAFES was developing its own app to relay information to its customers more quickly.
When senior leaders from both IMCOM and AAFES discovered they were working on similar projects, they decided to work together to develop a single app that could present a more complete picture of events, activities and services available on each installation in one place.
After only a few months of development, IMCOM conducted its first, limited beta test of Digital Garrison starting in January at 10 selected installations. After taking in feedback from garrison commanders and command sergeants major from those sites, the full version of the app was further developed and revised and then made available for download. In addition to IMCOM and AAFES information, future versions of the app will include other capabilities and partners, such as the Defense Commissary Agency.
“We’re very excited to partner with AAFES on the Digital Garrison app,” O’Donoghue said, adding that FMWR patrons, “have all the information they need right there at the touch of a button.”