Staff Sgt. Joy Higgins, orderly room non-commissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, recently moved from the barracks to an apartment in Crestview. She said that she relishes having her own space now and the ability to rest and recharge after a hard day’s work.
When her first sergeant mentioned the possibility of moving out of the barracks, Higgins said she was all for it. “They brought it up and I was like, ‘when can I move?’”
Wiesbaden is unique among garrisons in Europe in that it has excess housing available from its time as the former home of the 1st Armored Division, said U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon. He said making the apartments available to service members in the grade of E6 is a win for all involved.
“It allows the most senior of our mid-grade NCOs, some of whom have well over a decade of service, to live in an environment that is more in line with their level of seniority and experience,” he said.
Although she wasn’t unhappy in the barracks, Higgins said she’s thankful to have her own space.
“I feel like I’m actually at home,” Higgins said. “I don’t have to worry about any stresses of noise, and I feel like I can just relax and let go of the work day a little bit – recover kind of.”
Higgins loves to cook and said one of her favorite things to do is cook for people, which she often does for neighbors in her new building.
The self-described germaphobe said she felt the need to wash everything in the barracks kitchen before use. “Here I know I’ve kept stuff clean; it’s my dishes. I don’t feel like I’m having to take things back and forth to my room all the way down the hallway; everything’s just right there.”
And the extra storage space is nice too. She had previously been using storage space at a location separate from her barracks, “but now I have enough room here for all of my stuff.”
She also said being in a semi lockdown state with COVID requirements is a lot nicer in an apartment where she can move to a different room for a change of scenery.
Truchon said the move of staff sergeants to Crestview also frees up space in the barracks, allowing the remaining residents to spread out a little bit more, and hopefully, have a barracks room to themselves, rather than shared with a roommate. Additionally, having service members live in homes that would otherwise be empty puts multiple sets of eyes on the property.
“They can keep the Department of Public Works informed of any issues or concerns that arise within the building,” he said. “These same problems might otherwise go unnoticed for some time if the buildings were vacant.”
Higgins said she’s glad the garrison decided to do this and appreciates the improvement in her quality of life.
“I feel like as we go through our careers there’s a lot of factors that would make a person get out of the Army or stay in the Army,” she said. “I think that your experiences at different duty stations really affect that and doing something as simple as ensuring that people have a good quality of life outside of work is one of those factors that really is a decision maker for some people because the Army does have so much control over our lives. And that’s ok, that’s what we signed up for, but when we have leadership that cares enough to make sure that we’re good even though they don’t have to, that means a lot.”