STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOSEPH BONFIGLIO – Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Dorko, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, deputy commanding general for Military and International Operations recently visited the Honolulu District and toured numerous District projects and facilities.
According to Dorko, he was impressed by the variety of missions the District has from Civil Works to Military Construction and he was equally impressed by the complexity of the projects.
Honolulu District staff briefed Dorko on the future USARPAC Command & Control Facility at Fort Shafter and took him to visit the District’s Regional Visitor Center at Fort DeRussy and the New Barracks Complex at Schofield Barracks.
While at Schofield Barracks, Dorko also visited the historic Quads, the recently renovated Soldiers Chapel and received windshield tours of: the Child Development Center, Grow the Army sites, the Stryker Brigade Combat Team Motor pool, the Battle Command Training Center / Information System Facility and the Warriors in Transition facility.
Of particular interest to Dorko was historic Quad E where he met with Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade.
According to Dorko, “you want to make the barracks better for the Soldiers because they deserve that quality of life. That’s our compact with them. It’s a sacred duty we have to take care of our Soldiers.”
“It’s interesting when we talk to the Soldiers who are in there (Quad E) … I think they have an appreciation of the history where they live right now and the lineage and Army units that have been here,” Dorko said.
The Quads were strafed on Dec. 7, 1941, and 11th Field Artillery Regiment History holds that men of K Quad shot down one of the 29 Japanese planes downed on that day. Author James Jones lived in the Quads, and his classic 1951 novel, “From Here to Eternity,” is set in pre-war and wartime Oahu, especially Schofield Barracks.
In 2008, the Historic Hawaii Foundation presented U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii with a Preservation Honor Award for the garrison’s rehabilitation of Schofield’s historic Quads C and E, which date to 1916 and 1920, respectively.
Dorko went on to say that the Honolulu District doesn’t just provide quarters where Soldiers live, it also provides the supporting facilities and ranges they use.
“When you bring Soldiers here, you want to give them a quality environment to work in and you have also got to give them a quality environment to train in (to maximize) the precious time that units have back here when people change out, when they return from a deployment, that they can get back together and build that team, get equipped, trained and move together as a team to go deploy and do all the heavy lifting we’re asking them to do overseas. Facilities are a huge part of that,” Dorko said.
“Anything we can do to take pressure off the Soldier and off their families and create a more conducive environment for them to bond in the time that they have together while the Soldier is preparing for the things that they have to do… that’s what we’re all about.”
“If we’re doing that, then we’re doing the right thing. I think the Honolulu District is doing just an absolutely spectacular job in delivering on that promise and that contract we have with Soldiers to deliver the best possible facilities that we can … the best scope, schedule and cost,” Dorko said.
This sentiment was confirmed by 3rd Brigade Senior Property Manager Shawn Clement, “Soldiers in the renovated Quads have more space than the old Barracks. Soldiers appreciate the kitchens and these luxuries have improved the living conditions of today’s Soldiers.”
The day after visiting Schofield Barracks, Dorko visited the Big Island and visited Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) and the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) at Waikoloa Maneuver Area (WMA).
Dorko honored several District employees with commander’s coins for outstanding service.