by Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern
***image1***As a young Soldier living in the barracks, Command Sgt. Maj. Quinton Rice, Jr., remembers how he and his fellow residents would get a TV for the dayroom or microwave for the kitchen.
“Unit funds are for everybody in the unit – not just those living in the barracks,” said Command Sergeant Major Rice, who is now the troop command sergeant major for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “So, what we would normally do when were coming up through the ranks is to ante up our money and buy something like that and then donate it to the unit when we were leaving because you can’t divide a TV into 15 slices.”
Soldiers living in barracks here have another option to get that TV or microwave thanks to the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Best Barracks Award Program. This program splits $5,000 among residents of winning barracks in four categories.
“Soldiers in the barracks are the ones who spend the money – not the unit or the first sergeants,” said the garrison’s Command Sgt. Maj. Pamela Carmouche. “They have the ‘say so’ on who spends that money and what items are bought (for all residents).”
It originated here eight years ago to recognize residents who show pride in where they live by making sure repairs are done, safety standards and security measures are met, and common areas are spotless.
“This is a Kaiserslautern garrison unique program,” said Hans Huemer, the garrison’s housing manager. “It’s a way for us to show Soldiers living in the barracks that someone cares for them and appreciates their hard work.”
Determining the best barracks in the KMC is done the good, old-fashioned way, but with a twist. Inspections were done Sept. 12 on 21 barracks at five Army posts here by command sergeant majors Carmouche and Rice, and four other sergeant majors representing KMC commands such as the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and 212th Combat Support Hospital.
Award ceremonies were held Wednesday at each of the winning barracks. By scrubbing top to bottom and in every nook and cranny of their barracks, 340 Soldiers shared this year’s cash award.
Winners in the un-renovated large category, earning $1,700, are the 230th Military Police Company Soldiers living in Bldg. 162 on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. For the second year in a row, the hospital’s Company “B” residents of Bldg. 3716 on LRMC won in the renovated large category and earned $1,500.
Second-place honors in the large renovated category and $900 went to Soldiers living in Bldg. 3707 on LRMC. These Soldiers are from the 212th CHS, LRMC, U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-Europe, and Landstuhl’s Veterinary Laboratory and Dental Command.
For the fourth year in a row, Soldiers from the 181st Signal Company in Bldg. 3824 on LRMC took first-place honors in the renovated medium category and earned $400. Earning $500 as winners in the un-renovated medium category are Soldiers from the 8th Medical Logistic Company living in Bldgs. 1326, 1327, 1343 and 1344 on Miesau Army Depot.
“This program lets Soldiers know that leadership cares enough about them to come and check to see that they are doing the right things, and then rewards them when they are upholding the standards,” Command Sergeant Major Rice said. “It speaks volumes of what we can do as leaders in a community.”
Next September, this award program will again grant money to residents who make their barracks a “Home Sweet Home” according to the garrison’s safety, security and cleanliness requirements.