News: Top Army environment advisor visits Fort Lee
Story by Amy Perry
FORT LEE, Va. - The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment visited Fort Lee Sept. 24 to speak to Soldiers and tour the installation.
The Honorable Katherine Hammack spent part of the day in meetings with Maj. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, commanding general, Combined Arms Support Command, and Col. Paul K. Brooks, garrison commander, before sitting down to lunch with a group of Soldiers, some who were single parents.
Hammack told the Soldiers about her visits to installations across the Army and her reasons for touring the different locations.
“We look to ensure you are able to do your mission, whatever your mission is,” she said. “We like to talk to talk to Soldiers to identify if there are any areas for improvement.”
She also asked the Soldiers a few questions: if being in the Army was what they expected and if they planned to make a career; what’s working for them in the Army, both professionally and personally; and what aspects of the Army could use improving?
Hammack said she has responsibility for installations worldwide, and her job is to ensure each installation has the tools needed.
“The comment being made in the Army is that ‘if you’ve seen one Army installation, you’ve seen them all,’” she said. “But, every installation is different. A training installation has different needs and requirements. We want to understand what is working here, what is not working here, and where there may be opportunities for best practices that could be translated to the rest of the Army.”
One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Fort Lee Commissary to look at its Ecovim dehydrator that can compost up to 650 pounds of food waste at a time.
“The dehydrator is really interesting, because it gives us a better way to manage our waste,” Hammack said. “One of the things we talk about is that we don’t want all of our waste going into a landfill because we have better uses for our land than turning them into garbage dumps. We would rather turn them into training grounds, parade fields or fitness facilities.
“Burying our trash for future generations to discover is not the best practice either,” she said. “When we better manage our resources, whether it’s waste, water or energy, it means we are a more resilient Army for the future.”
Fort Lee is expected to place four more dehydrators on the installation in the next six months as part of a pilot program funded by Hammack’s office.