• October 30, 2014

An app for newcomers

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 4:30 am

I’m no longer in the military, but out of curiosity I downloaded the MyBaseGuide.com app I saw on the official Fort Hood website the other day.

MyBaseGuide is a product of MARCOA Publishing, which produces military installation guides, telephone directories and base maps for military bases all over the world, including Fort Hood.

Before this week, I had never heard of the company, but I have probably sifted through one or two of their products at some point in my life. I was an Air Force brat growing up, living at or near Air Force bases in England, Germany and Japan. Following high school, I joined the Army and was stationed here with the 1st Cavalry Division.

Places like Fort Hood probably see dozens of new soldiers report for duty every day, so it’s easy to see a need for installation guides.

I remember my first day at Fort Hood. It was Jan. 4, 1994. I was 18 years old, and had finished basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., a couple of weeks earlier. My mother dropped me off at the in-processing center. I’m not sure how I knew where to go; it must have been printed on my orders or maybe I stopped at the Welcome Center outside the main gate, and the folks there told me.

Hardly anyone carried a cellphone in those days, and smartphones were still more than a decade away. But if they had been around, I probably could’ve used the MyBaseGuide.com app.

Like the magazine-style installation guides, the MyBaseGuide.com app contains a lot of information on just about every Army post and other military bases in the world.

I downloaded the free app on my Android phone on Monday; for some reason it took three tries, but that may have been due to my Internet connection. Once installed, the app gives you the option of selecting which post you want to make your “location.” You can change the location any time.

The app is basically a database of information. Using the app is pretty user friendly; there is a rotating “wheel” on the left side where the user can choose from a variety of topics like Travel, Around Town, Deals, Gas Prices and Post Info.

I found some of them pretty laughable. The “Dining” option, which is part of the “Around Town” header, listed a mere 10 restaurants in Killeen and Copperas Cove combined. And for some reason, the Gas Prices option listed a low price of $3.20 per gallon at a store in Dewey, Okla. That’s just a tad too far to drive for cheaper gas.

I also clicked on Travel and Deals, but the info was pretty much worthless. I could just Google the info I’m looking for, and get a lot more out of it.

In fact, just about all of the options were not really worth the app taking up space on my phone. But then I clicked on “Post Info” … Eureka!

From a welcome letter from the garrison commander to confession times at 58th Street Chapel, it had just about everything: Info on post golf courses, gyms, housing and health care.

It details how to handle bringing pets to post (pit bulls not permitted), and it gives directions where new soldiers should report to (the Copeland Soldiers Service Center, Building 18010).

If I had this app back in 1994, I might have learned a couple of things about Fort Hood a lot sooner than I did otherwise. If you’re a newcomer or on post a lot, and looking for things to do, I highly recommend it. But if you’re looking for things to do off post, stick with Google or kdhnews.com.

Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468.

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