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    How to run a city, Army-style

    How to run a city, Army-style

    Photo By Sgt. Rob Cooper | Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Fink (left) along with Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Whitt carries a...... read more read more

    By Rob Cooper
    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    EDINBURGH, Ind. – Imagine a town where everybody knows one another. From the water treatment manager to the local shop owner, each person has a valued place in the community. Every day, the mayor stops by to check on new construction efforts, right before meeting with the fire and law enforcement agencies. Sounds like the average town doesn't it?

    How about a military installation located directly within a combat zone?

    Despite the obvious diversity in location, overseas Army bases operate similar to grass roots communities. Every conceivable occupation that is run by a state or city employee is in turn given to military experts in the same field. From health and safety oversight to, finance and legal regulation, the Army's garrison support units take the same principles from civilian towns and apply them to bases nested in and around deadly locales.

    "Our job is to manage the surrounding terrain while at the same time providing quality of life support for Soldiers both stationed here and coming in from the field," said Chief Warrant Officer Keith Prather, member of the 2145th Garrison Support Unit from Nashville, Tenn. The Army Reserve unit is scheduled to deploy this Spring to Iraq.

    "We'll be there overseeing the day-to-day functions of the [area of operation] that we'll be supporting, which will free up [unit commanders] to coordinate with higher echelons," said Capt. Charlie Hargis, one of the deputy mayors with the 2145th.

    In addition to working independently, each cell will report to the 2145th commander, Col. Manuel Santiago, who will serve as the complex's "governor."

    "The challenge of this mission is that I'm looking for leaders that can work autonomously," Santiago said. "I've got to be able to release that control."

    This is the first time in Army history a complete garrison support unit is deploying outside of the United States to run an entire military infrastructure.

    Prior to this deployment, the 2145th mobilized parts of their unit to places such as Fort Benning, Ga., to fill the roles of other deployed Soldiers and provide interim installation management.

    Sgt. 1st Class Mark Hammock, the first sergeant for the 2145th Headquarters and Headquarters Company, said the mission necessitated Soldiers with civilian expertise to fill in similar roles in Iraq.

    "Just because a Soldier is in a particular military occupation doesn't mean that their civilian skill sets might not bring more of an advantage to our command and our unit," Hammock said. "So we made some changes and moved some people around after learning that we had no clue that certain enlisted individuals have a good position in the civilian world that would benefit them in another area."

    In addition to the proactive personnel placements within each job, Santiago said that the current preparation with trainers from the 205th Infantry Brigade at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., has synergize the unit further.

    "The 205th has given us a chance to get to know each other and build cohesion," he said. "I'm totally impressed with the leadership here and I can't think of a better team to deploy with."



    Date Taken: 03.05.2008
    Date Posted: 03.05.2008 09:59
    Story ID: 17021

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