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New Secretary of U.S. Army visits Fort Hood, receives update on People First initiative

Christine Wormuth visits Fort Hood
Posted at 10:27 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 00:22:14-04

FORT HOOD — The new Secretary of the Army toured Fort Hood on Thursday, her first visit to a major U.S. Army installation since assuming her duties in May.

Wormuth visited Fort Hood to receive updates on III Corps' "People First" initiative, meet with junior enlisted Soldiers, tour barracks, family housing and motorpools.

“People are the Army’s number one priority,” said Wormuth. “As (one of) our Army’s largest installations, I wanted to hear directly from the Soldiers, families, and civilians about the unique capabilities and challenges here at Fort Hood.”

Operation People First was launched during the fall of 2020 to build trust for all 90,000 Soldiers across III Corps, which includes Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, Fort Carson, and Fort Riley.

The program has three focus areas that include getting to know Soldiers, certifying leaders and leaders holding leaders accountable.

Wormuth held a closed-door listening session with only privates through specialists included in the hour-long discussion.

“I believe Soldiers like myself were able to express concerns with how we’re being taken care of,” said Spc. Michael Alvarado, after the session. “It’s always good to check on the people who are doing the work; making sure we have cohesion.”

Spc. Ricardo Alma said he appreciated Wormuth's interest in barracks and security as she has the ability to influence policy changes at the Pentagon.

“It’s exciting to see her down here,” said Spc. Shaun Washington, a Stryker systems maintainer assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment. “I’m glad she can see how we operate on the ground, how we actually live and see our truth.”

After lunch, Wormuth toured the installation and reviewed renovation projects to barracks and family housing.

“I wanted to see first-hand how we are improving the quality of life for our Soldiers and their families and what still needs to be addressed at this installation and across the Army,” said Wormuth.

Wormuth concluded her visit by making remarks that reflected the Corps' efforts to improve command climate and working towards cultural changes that will last.

“Fort Hood continues to move forward to reshape how leaders communicate to their formations. The rate that units train and deploy can affect unit cohesion,” said Wormuth. “We must look at the effects of work-life balance to ensure that our Soldiers and their families have the tools needed to be mission-ready both deployed and at home.”