By Joshua Winata
The Cove Herald
City leaders gave a warm welcome to Fort Hood III Corps Garrison Commander Col. William Hill at a reception at the historic Allin House in Copperas Cove on Friday.
The city traditionally hosts a reception to meet and greet the new garrison commander, who oversees all support services for III Corps soldiers and their families, and to foster cooperation between Copperas Cove and Fort Hood. Hill was appointed to the position in August, filling the seat previously held by Col. Victoria Bruzese.
“There’s a greater community that we’re all part of, and really we need teamwork between our communities and our leaders to benefit everybody and let us all prosper,” Hill said. “Fort Hood is prospering because of the communities around us. As I understand it, the communities around us are prospering in a large way because of the growth of Fort Hood and everything that it’s brought to the area. It’s helpful to have get-togethers like this because it fosters friendship, which later turns into cooperation, better communication, better coordination.”
According to Public Information Officer Kelly Dix, the city of Copperas Cove has worked closely with the Fort Hood garrison commander’s office on many occasions. When hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005, the city coordinated emergency management efforts with the military post, and the garrison is currently involved in several Cove-based projects including the southwest reliever route and the 125-acre land swap in western end of the city.
Hill added that he relies on communities surrounding Fort Hood to provide employment for military spouses and housing for soldiers living off post. Services such as transportation, water and electricity also frequently overlap with adjacent municipalities.
Since taking the position of Fort Hood garrison commander less than four months ago, Hill has met several key city leaders including Mayor Roger O’Dwyer, City Manager Andrea Gardner and Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Rose Cameron and has worked surrounding communities through the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, an advocacy group for the Fort Hood area. However, he has not yet met with many members the Copperas Cove City Council or staff and said that the reception has been helpful in allowing him to become acquainted with city council members and department heads.
Copperas Cove department directors emphasized the importance of maintaining good relations with Fort Hood leadership and expressed appreciation for the social event as a way to break the ice.
“The time and place that I may be called to meet the post commander should not be when we’re knee deep in alligators because of some incident that has occurred or because there’s some major issue between the two of us,” said Chief Dennis Haas of the Copperas Cove Fire Department. “We should have that opportunity to meet each other when we’re in an atmosphere that lends itself to casual conversation with no pressure so that when pressured situations arise, we already know each other well, and that sets the stage for a much better working relationship.”
Haas said his department has very close ties with the Fort Hood Fire Department which participates in mutual aid agreements and regional task forces with surrounding communities.
“I feel like (Hill) will support that interaction, and I look forward to bigger and better things,” Haas said.
Robert McKinnon, water/wastewater director for Copperas Cove, frequently coordinates with Fort Hood as well and is currently working with the military base to construct an east pump station. He also gave a favorable assessment of the new garrison commander after meeting Hill at the reception.
“I think he’ll do great,” he said. “He’s very down to earth and speaks well. I was pretty impressed.”
Hill comes from a military family stretching back at least three generations and has served in the U.S. Army for 24 years. He received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University as a Distinguished Military Graduate and holds two master’s degrees, one in business administration and the other in national security strategy. He has served with the military in Desert Storm, Germany, Bosnia and Korea.
Prior to coming to Fort Hood, he was the deputy and chief for the Future Operations Section for U.S. Northern Command at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.
“I’m just really privileged to have the job that I have so I can serve the soldiers that I can,” Hill said. “And it makes it a lot easier when the communities that surround you are so cooperative.”
Contact Joshua Winata at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 547-6481