Written by Sgt. Leejay Lockhart
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – Soldiers from the 101st Financial Management Support Unit, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and their civilian counterparts held a grand opening ceremony January 16th, 2014, at Fort Campbell for the Fort Campbell Defense Military Pay Office.
The facility will provide finance and pay support for Fort Campbell.Years of planning and hard work culminated with a quick cut from a pair of massive scissors. The scissors easily cut through the yellow ribbon, and the end of the ribbon cutting ceremony signaled the official opening of the office.
The $12 million, 31,000 square foot facility provides a sustainable, energy efficient workspace for the soldiers from the 101st FMSU, Defense Finance and Defense Accounting Service civilians and governmental contractors. The building consolidates operations from five buildings into a single facility.
The building is also more than a just a new office for its workers. It is part of the vision that Fort Campbell’s leaders have for the installation.
Col. David Dellinger, Fort Campbell’s garrison commander, said the vision is that “this is the best military assignment any soldier will have in their career, so much so that if you ever leave Fort Campbell you want to come back to Fort Campbell.”
He continued by saying that taking care of soldiers and their families on Fort Campbell has many facets and that Fort Campbell strives to excel at all of them.
“Finance, and pay, and leave and all that are so important to the soldier experience,” said Dellinger. He added that if the experience wasn’t good, that soldiers and their families wouldn’t feel excited to come to Fort Campbell.
Achieving the vision and making the finance experience better comes from making the entire experience easier and more efficient. Because of the consolidation, permanent party soldiers can enter the building and can accomplish everything they need to in one visit to one building, which handles all aspects of pay support except for in and out processing.
Lt. Col. Abel Young, the rear detachment commander of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, said the previous setup with services scattered in different buildings could cause confusion and frustration for soldiers, which the new building will remedy. He added that the new building also eliminates issues with parking that sometimes occurred in the past.
Maj. Thaddeus Burnett, the director of the Fort Campbell Defense Military Pay Office and the commander of the 101st FMSU, agreed that bringing all of the operations together helps improve the overall experience.
“It’s 100 percent better being that you have all of your leadership here to command the tactical side of the house as well as the technical side of the house,” he said. “You have your tactical sergeants here. You have the Army civilians who are in charge of the sections as well.”
Another advantage is when it comes to troubleshooting issues with the systems the soldiers and civilians use.
Burnett said that subject matter experts like Torrence, who he described “pretty much knows everything about running a DPO,” are readily available to assist with technical support issues on site.
This saves time by preventing workers from having to leave and spend the time traveling to different buildings to get assistance like they had to do before coming together in the new office. In the end, this will help improve operations and make the entire process better for patrons to the pay office.
Besides making operations more efficient, the building’s design team incorporated a number of features to make the building itself more efficient. Dellinger said that the building will help Fort Campbell meet its goal of reducing its energy use.
Burnett explained that the building uses geothermal heating to reduce energy use. Geothermal systems use the ground’s relatively constant temperature to help transfer heat to the building during cold weather and transfer heat from the building during hot weather.
“It is actually LEED certified,” said Torrence.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program that helps guide sustainable design practices and provides independent verification for energy efficient buildings.
Additionally, the building has a solar hot water heating system, the building’s orientation provides extra lighting from sunlight, the building’s structure provides energy efficient insulation, and the building generates some energy from solar panels at the facility.
The new facility should serve Fort Campbell for years to come. It will provide a facility that is both operationally and energy efficient.
The sustainable building will help Fort Campbell meet its environmental goals all while helping make Fort Campbell the best military installation a soldier can serve at.
“So the new facility incorporating cutting-edge technology, promoting high standards, DMPO is always looking and working hard to improve customer support,” said Young. “Fort Campbell’s community … when they visit the facility they will be impressed.”