Ask the commander – March 17, 2016

Col. Mary Martin, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander

Col. Mary Martin, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander

Editor’s note: Have something you’d like to share with the commander, or a question you’d like answered? Send an ICE comment or contact the Commander’s Hotline (click the Feedback link on the garrison home page) If you have a suggestion instead of a question, you can also visit the suggestions link on the ICE website.

Military police at school bus stop

Anonymous said: The MPs who are supposed to ensure the safety of school children boarding busses in the morning on Herrstrasse are not doing their jobs (minus one). The military policeman who does it right pulls his car into the traffic lane, lights flashing, blocking anyone from passing the busses, when the busses pull forward. Kudos to him. He must have kids. Then there are the others. I personally stop and correct at least 3-4 motorists every week, even on days that military police are on site. A couple of weeks ago I stopped a vehicle who was passing the busses as I walked my son across the street. The military policeman approached the car from the rear and had the vehicle pull into a parking space on the right until the busses left. After the busses and vehicle left, I asked the military policeman if he cited the driver. He said the driver said “he wasn’t aware of the rule,” at which time I pointed out that anyone having a USAREUR license has been to the driving class and should know better. Since when does ignorance of the law get you off the hook? I’m not saying military police don’t have discretion over who they do and do not ticket, but I think endangering little kids should be met with zero tolerance. And “ticketing discretion” would imply that they actually write tickets for this sort of infraction, ever.

Response: We appreciate your input pointing out the deficiencies of the military police at the bus stops, as this type of input helps identify areas we need to focus on in regards to their training and guidance. As such, it is clear we have room for improvement; we will re-emphasize the role of the military police at the bus stops to our patrols to ensure they are doing everything they can to protect the members of this community. We will also relook at our operating procedures to ensure they properly address the duties of the military police when they are tasked to perform courtesy missions such as the school bus monitoring.

Housing areas issues

Anonymous said: How can the Garrison explain the disparity between quality of living for those people who live in Newman Village, and those who live in stairwell housing? Those in Newman have yards, patios, garage, attic, parking right at their house and their own personal trash cans that they’re responsible for. Those in stairwells live in apartments with several other families in their building with thin walls that allows you to hear everything others are doing. Furthermore, we don’t have any personal outdoor space, many of us don’t have balconies, we have tiny storage units, we have to fight for parking and our community trash cans are overflowing and trash routinely blows onto my mostly grassless, muddy front yard (which doesn’t help the problem with rats that we have, since their burrowing holes are everywhere). I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t understand how it’s acceptable for some families to have such a high standard of living, and other families to live in stairwell housing that they consider substandard to meet the needs of their families. I really think this needs to be addressed, as several families in stairwells feel the same way I do.

Response: Thank you for your comment. Newman Village was established (construction complete) in June 2012 to accommodate the additional housing needed to transition a three star headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden. All other USAG Wiesbaden housing areas were established many years prior, from the late 1940s through the Berlin Airlift timeframe. Over the years a lot of money has been spent renovating our older single family homes (located in Aukamm-with yards), duplexes (located in Aukamm and Clay -with yards) and our older apartments (located in all housing areas) to ensure they meet/exceed modern housing standards for Europe. Whether utilized or not, all of our apartment buildings have common area outdoor space around the area. Additionally, our DPW does its best to ensure for the adequate housing of all families with the budget they have at hand. Until our Army defines the needs of the force, we will continue to do all we can to ensure our Soldiers and Families are adequately housed in clean, renovated homes. In that, we need to hear from Soldiers like you as you are our eyes and ears to the things we can’t see such as pest that may be getting out of control – pests are throughout the USAG Wiesbaden footprint (yes, including Newman Village). Newman Village was built on old farmers’ fields and little creatures exist there as well. In case you are not aware, government homes in CONUS have some of the same differences/disparities; however, due to available acres, it is rare to see apartment style homes in our CONUS locations. If we had the dollars, acres, city approval, and DoD approval to build more single family homes for USAG Wiesbaden, we absolutely would.