(FORT SHAFTER, HI NR 30-09) Honolulu District and Pacific Ocean Division
employees at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gathered at Fort Shafter Gym
for a town hall meeting and to attend an Overseas Contingency Operations
(OCO) and disaster response/emergency relief Planning and Response Team (PRT)
deployment information fair, Nov. 18.

Brig. Gen. Mark W. Yenter, commanding general and division engineer for the
Pacific Ocean Division, discussed the Corps of Engineers’ response to the
American Samoa tsunami and the talented efforts displayed by District and
Division emergency operations, PRTs and subject-matter-experts.

“It’s our job to support FEMA in disaster relief; and there was amazing
teamwork between the response from FEMA, the Corps of Engineers and other
government agencies,” said Yenter. “The reach-back to the Honolulu District
has been phenomenal. Additional tasks rolled down to the Honolulu District;
they stepped up and made it a reality. They couldn’t have done it better. The
people of American Samoa are going to come back stronger than ever and we’re
going to be there with them through this long-term recovery process.”

Yenter also addressed the future policy changes and opportunities available
in PRTs and OCO, and reiterated that supporting OCO is the number one mission
for the Division.

“This Division leads the Corps in the percentage of people who volunteer to
support OCO, and we have for a long time, even though we are a small
Division.” said Yenter. “It’s the most important thing that we do.”

The Pacific Ocean Division averages 5 percent of its workforce deployed in
OCO missions. Many employees also serve on multiple PRTs and may deploy on
short notice after natural or man-made disasters.

“It’s important to support the families of those who deploy not only for OCO
but for PRT missions,” said Yenter. “The Family Readiness Program is
phenomenal. In the same calendar year that it was developed; they have
leveraged the help that is available to families. It’s important to know what
we can do for you and to get help when you need it.”

The Pacific Ocean Division Family Readiness Program sponsored the deployment
information expo to promote understanding of the support available for
families of deployed civilians, whether for OCO or PRT.

“This is to help families and deployed individuals, and ensure they have all
the information that they need,” said Juli Chytka, from the Pacific Ocean
Division Family Readiness Program. “Many civilians and their families are not
aware of what they are entitled to.”

Employees had the opportunity to speak to representatives and gather
information from Army OneSource; Blue Star Card Program; Military OneSource;
the Red Cross; Military and Family Life Consultants; and the Army Community
Service (ACS) Deployment/Mobilization program and Financial Management and
Readiness program.

“We are here to let civilians know what ACS has to offer them as part of the
military community and the Army Family,” said Lis Olsen, outreach director
for ACS. “We’re here to serve the deployed civilians and families as well as
the Soldiers. The need is great and we don’t want anyone to hesitate because
they are concerned that their family is not taken care of.”

The Pacific Ocean Division Family Readiness Group will also connect families
of deployed, deploying or recently returned civilians and Soldiers to provide
an outlet for families to share experiences and problems, said Zenaida Bate,
the community support coordinator.

‘Lacey Justinger is with Honolulu District Public Affairs’

Comments

comments