By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD — As the clock hit 5 p.m. Tuesday, the questions started streaming down the III Corps and Fort Hood Facebook page from people looking for answers on topics ranging from on-post housing to traffic congestion to suicide prevention.
One-by-one, more than 100 subject matter experts standing by in the III Corps headquarters building began answering as many questions as possible, as part of the post’s two-hour Facebook and TV town hall.
In total, about 200 questions were asked.
“If I held this in a theater, maybe 30 people would show up,” said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, addressing his team just before kickoff. “This is how a lot of folks like to deal with us.”
This is the second Facebook town hall post officials have hosted. The first, held in January, brought in about 400 questions that led to some changes at Fort Hood.
Campbell, along with other commanders, also hosted a televised hour of call-in questions that were available through local programming and online.
Before heading into the studio, Campbell warned his team that not all questions would be flattering.
“I encourage you all to put your shields up tonight; don’t be thin-skinned,” he said. “We are listening for a couple hours and providing feedback to the best of our ability.”
While all questions asked may not get an immediate response on Facebook, subject matter experts will continue to research and are aiming to get every question answered by Friday, said Christie Vanover, chief of command information for III Corps and Fort Hood.
“It puts them at ease to know that people are looking out for them,” she said.
While there hasn’t been any policy change from the first town hall, there are some additions being added to post in response to people’s questions.
Before the first town hall, officials had no idea of the demand for dog parks on post, said Brian Dosa, director of Public Works.
“We heard them loud and clear, and we are building two dog parks now, one in east and one west, set to open in the spring,” he said.
Tuesday night’s event raised many questions about on-post housing.
Residents voiced their concerns about safety, breed bans for dogs, traffic and the quality of housing and maintenance. Many of the questions Dosa said he and his team were expecting.
“We’re all about serving our customers and hearing their needs,” he said. “We want to hear feedback ... and see where we need to adjust some things.”
The event also allows Fort Hood to train personnel on the Public Information Emergency Response system, Vanover said. Questions asked on Facebook are routed through the system to the appropriate experts, then back out to Facebook.
“It’s not just a benefit to soldiers and families who ask questions, it’s training for us in the event of a crisis,” Vanover said.
Contact Rose Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463