FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The Commanding General of the National Training Center, Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, informed the community of his key priorities during his first month of tenure in Fort Irwin.
“My top, three priorities — number one, is family housing and barracks, because this is the primary way we demonstrate care for those soldiers that we have the privilege of leading, so I take it very seriously,” Lesperance said. “The second priority is the Child Development Center. How we continue to demonstrate care for our families and how we deliver childcare services on the installation…and thirdly is the expansion of our healthcare to the Defense Health Agency.”
Lesperance said he wears two hats—one as the senior commander of the installation (Fort Irwin), and one is the commander for the National Training Center.
He visited Weed Army Community Hospital, as well as the Child Development Center to assess the needs and status of the facilities and care.
On the CG’s visit to the CDC, he was briefed by Training and Curriculum Specialist, Glinder Terry, as well as the Child and Youth Services Coordinated Keisha Mock Yen and the director of the Family MWR, Marion Taylor. They spoke with Lesperance about their four cornerstones of care, provisional hiring benefits, recent renovations, biggest challenges, their wait list and available spaces. Lesperance informed them of the questions he received from residents requesting extended, earlier CDC hours for physical training soldiers and asked how he could be of assistance. The CDC said they have six, new employees coming onboard before October 2019 and discussed how to tackle their biggest challenge of staffing retention, due to PCS season.
Lesperance wanted to ensure there are measures to take a proactive approach on identifying stress among employees and preventing any incidents with children and the CDC leaders say they have independent training programs and forums to help employees cope and recognize problems before they balloon into something larger.
Right now, the CDC is at 96 percent capacity and told the CG that they do, indeed, have several inspections throughout the year that are unannounced, as well as inspections by the Garrison.
There will be ongoing updates regarding Lesperance’s key priorities.
“Those are my priorities as the senior commander and I am held accountable to the Chief of the Staff of the Army,” he said. “I can assure you that we take this very seriously and I assure you that we do the best we can to demonstrate care for our soldiers and families in these, three areas.”
Lesperance added that his named priorities don’t mean those are the only items he’ll focus on, but they are the initial priorities.