FORT HOOD — Spouses of senior leaders and family program volunteers gathered at III Corps Headquarters on Monday to watch the Association of the United States Army Family Forum together.
The forum — part of the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. — featured top Army leaders discussing the issues facing Army families and answering questions. Fort Hood was one of 70 sites participating in the town hall meeting via a live webcast.
“I found it interesting how they approached difficult challenges our Army faces today,” said Daphnie Cantlon, spouse of 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s commander, Col. Cameron Cantlon, who is attending the four-day conference.
Topics included the future of family programs in the fiscally strained Army, and how to readjust the Army family to peacetime operations.
“If you’re a major or sergeant first class today, you’ve probably never experienced anything but 12 years of war,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno. “There are several
things we have to do. First, we have to make sure to provide the financial counseling and responsibility ... because they’re not getting the benefits they got (over) the last 10 years.”
As budgets decrease, all programs, including those for families will be evaluated, the panel said.
“When (my wife and I) travel ... what we hear is some programs are working for us and some are not,” said Command Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler. “We really, really need your feedback. There are some things we will not have in service anymore and that’s OK.”
Hollyanne Milley, spouse of III Corps and Fort Hood commander, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, said there was a lot of great information given through the three-hour forum. She said it was good to hear questions from other installations.
“It gives Fort Hood a broader view of the Army and the different programs,” Milley said. “Different installations have different needs. ... It’s also an opportunity to provide input and discuss a variety of issues with our senior leaders.”
Cantlon said she took notes to discuss the information with her husband later, and to then pass it to families in the regiment.
“Cam and I know this installation very well from watching it evolve since the early 1990s. I think we have all the right resources in place to foster the balance needed to be resilient during continued challenges we face today,” she said.
“As I reflect on the messages today there is a lot that needs to be done for our soldiers and families, but I think the attitude of our leadership is positive. I left that meeting thinking Fort Hood is doing things right.”