By Janecze Wright
Fort Cavazos Public Affairs
FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Thanks to two programs implemented here, the Great Place is making an even greater impact on newcomers as they inprocess at their new duty station.
“Our motto is invest in people, so we take that personally here,” said Capt. Adam Barnes, Installation Reception Center commander.
In addition to the hands-on support Soldiers receive from the time they touch down at the airport, up to and beyond signing into their new units, Barnes noted that the Integrated Personnel Pay System Army also makes Fort Cavazos stand out when it comes to welcoming new arrivals. The program is part of a plan to address human resources issues.
Barnes said that Fort Cavazos is one of the first bases to pioneer the system meant to restructure and realign the reception program. He explained that the legacy HR systems were outdated, and the new program provides one system of record that has a repository of all the Soldier’s documents.
“The IPPS-A implementation was to transform the way we do HR and provide service to Soldiers,” Barnes said. “My personnel have all Army access and they’re able to knock out those issues and fix it at a one stop shop. It addresses a lot of issues and ensures that everyone’s paperwork is squared away.”
Additionally, 1st Lt. Mallory Mihelich, permanent change of station officer in charge, IRC, explained that Fort Cavazos is one of three bases to pilot the Installation Reception Center.
Mihelich said that the center was recently established as part of an Army-wide initiative to help streamline and modernize inprocessing for Soldiers and their families at Fort Cavazos, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
She emphasized that the IRC helps to ensure units are mission ready.
“We are such a high tempo base, we need those units to be prepared,” she said. “They know that when we arrive them, they can expect that Soldier in four days. We handle all those functions here and then they’re ready to go. So, it increases the lethality and the readiness of the unit.”
Mihelich calculated that the Fort Cavazos IRC sees an average of 100-150 Soldiers daily and noted that personnel are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure Soldiers are taken care of, no matter what time they arrive.
Sgt. Jorge Montemayor, IRC, said he appreciates the convenience of the process.
“I was inprocessed about seven o’clock at night,” he shared. “So, it’s kind of convenient that I was immediately signed off of leave and given a barracks room, sheets and everything that I needed for the next four days.”
Montemayor added that the experience was vastly different from previous bases.
“Here, you have a qualified staff sergeant or sergeant first class leading you day by day,” he explained. “They immediately arrive you to IPPS-A and they already know IPPS-A. They can arrive you, depart you and work through any issues in house. So, that was very helpful.”
After they have signed into the IRC, Soldiers spend the next four days addressing medical, dental and financial needs and attending a series of briefings and orientations from organizations such as the Army Substance and Abuse Program, Exceptional Family Member Program and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention.
Incoming Soldiers also attend a newcomers orientation where they are introduced to installation leadership, given a brief history of the post as well as its role and mission and encouraged to speak with various support services like Child and Youth Services and Cavalry Family Housing. Spouses are also encouraged to attend, and childcare is provided on site.
Maj. Samuel Flohr, Operational Test Command, attended the orientation with his wife Courtney. He said it has been an incredibly positive experience for his family.
“This is not my first duty station I’ve inprocessed, but it was absolutely the most organized,” he said. “They opened everything up to spouses to attend too. It was more attentive to the needs of the family.”
Flohr admitted that he and his wife were apprehensive about moving to Fort Cavazos at first.
“We were both aware of the stigma that Fort Hood had,” he shared. “That anxiety of moving to this duty station has been alleviated. This whole process is helping that. It seems like (Fort Cavazos) is making a concerted effort to move in the right direction.”
Flohr added that the emphasis on the family unit is one of the main reasons he is excited to start the next phase here.
“We’re trying to change Fort Cavazos’ past and look into the future,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s been a staple or something that’s been routine in the past, but it’s absolutely a focus now. Not integrating just the Soldier, but it’s the comprehensive integration of the Soldier and his family into the team here.”