Maj. Gen. Pittard's final thoughts as he leaves Fort Bliss

POSTED: 09:14 PM MDT May 23, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

Maj. Gen. Dana H. Pittard has written some final thoughts in the Fort Bliss Monitor that appeared on the day he relinquished command of the post.

"Wow, it is hard to believe that this will be my last “Thoughts While Working out in the Gym.” Today, I will hand the guidon over to my friend of more than 30 years – MG Sean MacFarland.

Our collective goal over the past three years can be summarized in three words: “Make a Difference.” We tried to make a difference in every aspect of life here on Fort Bliss and raised the quality of life and combat readiness of the entire installation in doing so.

I want to strongly urge everyone to try to make a difference in their own areas – their squad, office, homes, with friends, with strangers, and as an entire community. If we are all being innovative and trying to make a difference it will be powerful! You can make a difference by doing anything from picking up five weeds a day to working on your personal fitness to treating others with dignity and respect.

A Look Back
In our collective attempt to make a difference, we all did so much over the past three years. We transformed the 1.2 million acre Fort Bliss area into the best home station training area in the Army. Nearly $500 million was invested to build the newest and best – live fire ranges, urban villages, tank trails, simulation centers, and other training enablers. The preparation of our Soldiers and units for combat has never been better.

Just some of our nearly 300 initiatives and efforts include our push for ASIST training for all newly arriving Soldiers, our efforts to create a caring culture, our Environmental Campaign Plan to reduce our carbon footprint, reverse-cycle PT, increased drug testing to ensure drugs were not being introduced into our units, financial fitness, intrusive leadership, our partnership with the El Paso community, and our cutting-edge training facilities.
Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard and Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland are briefed on range capabilities as they fly over multiple range complexes in the New Mexico desert in a UH-60 Black Hawk during a training tour, May 15. Photos by Claudia R. Kennedy, DoMaD Public Affairs.

Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard and Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland are briefed on range capabilities as they fly over multiple range complexes in the New Mexico desert in a UH-60 Black Hawk during a training tour, May 15. Photos by Claudia R. Kennedy, DoMaD Public Affairs.

We’ve expanded hours at all of our facilities and venues and have established a 24-hour fitness facility at Milam Gym on West Bliss. We’ve built the largest Olympic-style aquatic center in the Department of Defense and the largest dental clinic and fitness center in the Army. We have also built the largest Soldier Activity Center in the Army. We’re all very proud of our Wellness Fusion Center, of our aggressive efforts to reduce suicide, and of being the only community in the United States to receive the Living Works Community of Excellence award for our effective suicide prevention and intervention programs.

We have done a lot, but with a singular focus. All of these endeavors converge on preparing Soldiers for combat.

These initiatives are critical to making sure Soldiers are emotional, spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially ready to deploy and fight in our nation’s wars. Ultimately, everything we have worked to do is really about preparing Soldiers for combat. We have been successful in that effort thanks to all of your hard work.

Where We Are Today
Right now Fort Bliss and 1AD units are in seven different countries, developing partnerships, planning for contingency operations and conducting combat missions. We really are at the tip of the spear in terms of emerging threats and combat operations.

Last week we operationally deployed a portion of our 1AD headquarters element as a tailored command post in support of our regional alignment with the Kingdom of Jordan. We are the first division that is effectively executing regional alignment with a partnered military.

We have reshaped our division command post by organizing our operational tasks for specific mission sets and regional conditions. This is all part of the Army’s effort to align forces to specific areas of the world. The 1AD division staff has put an awful lot of work and leadership into this problem and we have now reached a point where we are ahead of the rest of the Army when it comes to regional alignment at the division level.

Fort Bliss has become a thriving hub of activity at the center of our nation’s fight against emerging threats around the world. It is the premier training installation that hosts our Army’s most diverse division (two heavy brigades, one Stryker brigade, a light infantry brigade, a sustainment brigade, a fires brigade, and a combat aviation brigade)."

To read the rest of Pittard's column, including what he says about the future of Fort Bliss, click here.