As this year comes to a close, and I reflect upon my tenure as commander of Fort Irwin Garrison, I can truly say that the community here – Soldiers, Families and civilians – has been a group of people who embody the American spirit of strength, generosity and respect.
In the Army, strength is synonymous with resiliency. In this community, generosity has been forthcoming in many ways. And in the Army, being respectful has been a value – a character trait – that fundamentally defines our Soldiers.
Our community demonstrated resiliency time and time again, as this High Desert installation took punches from Mother Nature. Punches that unexpectedly stopped electricity from flowing into our homes and offices; punches that inundated Lewis Elementary and forced our children and their teachers to find a safe, dry place. But the community stood its ground, and flexed back.
Your resiliency motivated you – drove you – to take a look and say, “How can I help?” and “I’m here to help.” Your resiliency was motivated by compassion also, as you took hold of the task to move an entire school for those kids and educators.
Your resiliency kept you composed when the electricity went out three times. This last time, a planned outage, even saw our Boy Scout Troopers pitch in to help pass around those 20-pound bags of ice. They truly defined ‘cool under pressure.’
The community’s generosity is a reflection of our American way of life and our Soldier’s sworn commitment to protecting the defenseless around the world. Here, you opened up your wallets to programs, such as the Combined Federal Campaign, Army Emergency Relief, Feds Feed Families and Angel Tree. You contributed to scholarship funds, unit Family Readiness Groups, and other worthy campaigns.
You opened up your hearts and homes to pets, and shared your time to volunteer all over this post. We may be in the ‘season of giving,’ but on Fort Irwin, our community gives all year.
The respect you have shown has been honorable. Soldiers and Family members put a high value on education – enrolling in college courses while stationed here, and graduating as well. Respect for education was not marginalized.
Our Soldiers, Families and civilians took part in stand downs, discussions and training dedicated to understanding the perils of sexual assaults and suicides. You committed yourself to respecting the problem and becoming part of the solution. You committed yourself to creating a climate that respects the dignity of every member of the Army Family.
The 2013 calendar may be on its last page, but for the Fort Irwin community a new page is a chance to continue all the good things made possible by you. I ask that you stay devoted and unwavering in your ability to be resilient, generous and respectful. I wish you the best of times with family and friends as we look forward to a new year together, Ready and Resilient.