U.S. Army Garrison outlines Ft. Wainwright's top priorities

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 7:33 PM AKDT
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The Greater Fairbanks. Chamber of Commerce continued its weekly business luncheons online. This week, United States Army Garrison Alaska Commander, Colonel Chris Ruga, outlined Fort Wainwright's top priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Col. Ruga highlighted the efforts to enhance the quality of life for soldiers and families on post. Initiatives that are completed or in the works include improved barracks, dining facilities strengthening community ties, all of which are related to higher quality of life, according to Col. Ruga.

"If soldiers and family members are comfortable and feel less isolated where they're at, then the suicide risk decreases," Col. Ruga said. "Every one of our quality of life improvements can be tied back to, in one way, shape or form, improving that aspect of military life in Alaska."

Blackout shades and "happy lights" will be available in the barracks, while an upgraded dining facility will feature a better environment and food. Recreating facilities will also get a new look, with renovations and additions such as a new ski lodge. Along with environmental improvements, they are also working on way for better communication and outreach to soldiers and families.

Future projects include eliminating the common area of the Latrine Barracks, a year round airfield facility for more comfortable maintenance and readiness for storage.

Col. Ruga emphasized their enforcement of health guidelines, including strict self-quarantine and social distancing measures, backed by General Order #1.

"Essentially, it puts the power of The Uniform Code of Military Justice behind social distancing requirements. Unlike some sectors of the civilian community where it is potentially difficult for civilian authorities to enforce social distancing...One of the beauties of the Military is we do have some of those abilities to put a little bit of teeth behind doing what we are supposed to be doing."

The next Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce business luncheon is scheduled for April 21, where Dr. Mark Simon, Emergency Physician, Foundation Health Partners will discuss "COVID19: Protecting Your Employees, Customers, Business, and Community".

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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